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Ethics in Action: Considering Provision 9 in the ANA’s Nursing Code of Ethics

Nurses are committed to providing quality care, but at times in the course of their work they are faced with ethical dilemmas that require difficult choices. Recognizing this, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has developed a Code of Ethics that provides a core set of ethical guidelines to follow. At Loyola University New Orleans, students become well versed in all nine provisions of the Code.

Provision 9 maintains that professional nursing organizations must speak as one voice to promote changes that enhance the health of people and their respective care. The provision states: “The profession of nursing collectively through its professional organizations, must articulate nursing values, maintain the integrity of the profession, and integrate principles of social justice into nursing and health policy.

Considering Provision 9

The provision establishes that nurses represented by their professional organizations must give voice to their shared values. It is their collective responsibility to engage in communications that promote or restore health, prevent illness and injury, alleviate pain, and emphasize respect and caring. This steadfast solidarity has the power to positively influence global health, rigorous educational requirements for nurses, and the social determinants of health.

To help expand the quality of health care locally, nationally, and internationally, nurses are encouraged to pursue formal and informal dialogues with the public, government legislators and regulators, and among themselves. Through their professional organizations, they are urged to be vigilant in this quest, taking actions that enhance all facets of nursing and promote the profession’s Code of Ethics.

Vexing Scenario

With these ethical responsibilities as a backdrop, consider the following scenario: A country’s government seeks to pass legislation to build a dam across a river that presently supplies an abundant source of quality food to the local population. Studies indicate the dam will have an adverse impact on both the supply and quality of fish. In keeping with Provision 9, would professional nursing organizations be responsible for evaluating these potential risks and communicating their concerns as one voice to legislators and the public? Would it be incumbent upon these organizations to elucidate how the legislation would likely affect the health of local residents, pointing out the particular medical conditions and collective pain and suffering that may result?

Interested in learning more about the nursing code of ethics and applying their teachings? Inquire with the Loyola University New Orleans admission teams or request more information.