Ethics in Nursing Care Administration


When many contemporary nursing issues are measured applying principles and standards the reality of ethics forms the core of the debate. The great question of which elements constitute ethics becomes a major bone of contention in defining the boundaries it is expected to cover in terms of everyday interaction in society, at home; on the job, and most frequently in many social institutions.

The following pages of this paper will highlight some contemporary issues in nursing care administration that impinge deeply on ethical standards. They stretch across individualized patient care outcomes determined by ethical professional standards towards nursing administration as it pertains to the institution itself.

Inevitably two case study scenarios would be referenced to enhance the effects of ethics on performance, generally. Conclusively, in response to the question posed to be answered by this presentation the writer will make reference to the ethical position of a traditional philosopher and relate it to the contemporary issue being advanced in the document.

Role of the Nurse

Once a client is admitted to a Skilled Managed Nursing Care facility the nursing staff’s responsibility according to the Nursing Ethics policy of the United States is to maintain the dignity of the client. This involves showing respect for the client’s cultural beliefs and practices. The nurse must at no time display any discriminatory behavior towards the client neither his relatives based on his/her own cultural orientation. In the case of a child and it is very important that the staff makes ‘decisions through a reasoning process that incorporates professional judgments, clinical observations and practical matters of feasibility.’ (Killion 2000)


Nurses have a moral obligation to protect the client from slander by withholding personal information concerning the illness itself or any other known social problems which may be assessed or diagnosed. Information must only be shared or discussed among staff members if it is associated directly with a nursing intervention.’ Every nurse in the practice of her profession has a moral obligation to do well, and the patient has a right to expect that he or she will derive some benefit from that good.’ (Killion 2000)

The Naked Truth

Kathy Douglas founder and president of the Institute for Staffing Excellence and Innovation, made alarming aspersions to the naked truth facing the nursing profession in terms of unethical staffing patterns. In an article she tells the naked truth concerning, staffing in Hospitals, Nursing homes and Rehabilitation centers. She declares, ‘The world of Staffing is a mess” (Douglas 332). Here, the issue is identified as, ‘Staffing in Health Care Needs an Overhaul’ (Douglas 332].

The population she referenced is diverse. Making the point she explained that there are two affecting variables, the client receiving care and the professional rendering it. She targets nurse- patient relevance as a revolving issue.

Ethical principles of the professional practice-staffing

The ethical principle depicted in this presentation declares that it is proper professional ethics to have units adequately staffed. Patient / client ratios are ethically important to the delivery of quality care. Also, the need for evidenced based staffing is essential. There should be is the right Nurse for the right patient at the right time for the ideal ethical climate.

Proposed solutions

Suggestive solutions were focused on a new approach to staffing techniques in the Health Care System. “ The bringing together of someone with a specific set of needs and someone who has the skills; experience and credentials to assist with those needs is staffing.”(Douglas 332). Precisely, the solution of evidenced based patient client ratio relevance, is the key to complying with the ethical expectations in this discipline.

Conclusively, she emphasized that, “If we open our minds, leverage experience and ideas from across disciplines, facilities and geographies, we can uncover new approaches to staffing that can better serve our future.”(Douglas 334).

Supportive facts regarding the issue

The writer quoted Lyn Unrah. She reference a study conducted in 2008 which revealed that “adequate staffing along with balanced workloads were central to achieving good patient, nurse ethics and enhanced financial outcomes.” (qtd. in Unrah 70). Here, the issue of ethical Nursing as it relates to providing adequate intervention in a safe care climate sufficiently staffed is emphasized.

Facts supportive of a solution

Again the writer utilized studies from Columbia University to evidence her solution, ‘Over the last 15 yrs, evidence has been accumulating relating higher levels of nurse staffing in both quantity and experience to lower the rates of adverse patient outcomes.’ (Douglas 151). At this point the writer directly referenced this study to support her conclusion that adequate staffing is vital to maintaining the ethical culture of the profession, which is safe patient care.

Relationship to Plato’s Theory: Knowledge is virtue

In relating these two important issues of nursing care intervention strategies as they pertain to ethics, Plato’s theory of ‘Knowledge is virtue “cannot escape attention. (Denise, 2007) From the first scenario offered for speculation the role of the nurse in the acquisition and dispensation of knowledge becomes the basis of establishing an ethical standard of communication.

How does a professional in the capacity of a nurse, process the knowledge obtained from her culture, the culture of her patient and relatives and the ones pertaining to the institution? In reference to Plato’s typology this knowledge is expected to be used virtuously to support confidentiality.

Kathy Douglas’s account asserting her position on staffing inefficiencies within the professional practice; projecting a belief that the institution is unethical in its provision of care based on evidence knowledge is supportive of Plato’s theory of ‘Knowledge is virtue” The knowledge concept is utilized to produce a perspective of ‘the right nurse for the right patient at the right time.’ (Douglas, 2008).

For Douglas and her consultants this can be only achieved through researching to obtain knowledge, which can provide the foundation for such a practice to be implemented. Thereby Plato’s ‘Knowledge is Virtue” theory comes alive in its application to provide Nursing intervention emerging form a space of pure ethical standards.


In this ethical evaluation two issues pertaining to nursing practices were made visible. The first pertained to the role of the nurse in maintaining confidentiality as a concept derived from the “Knowledge of virtue.” Precisely, it is how we use knowledge that determines virtue.

Subsequent analogies of Kathy Douglas’s typology of the “Naked Truth” in her rhetoric of “the world of staffing is a mess,” she emphasized the relevance of knowledge in creating a safer nurse- patient climate and relationship. In this account she definitely projected a need for evidence- based nursing intervention which denotes the virtue of knowledge. (Douglas, 2008)

Works cited

Denise, Theodore. Great Traditions in Ethics. 12. USA: Wadsworth Publishing. 2007. 384. Print.

Douglas, Kathy. “The Naked Truth. Staffing in HealthCare Needs Overhauling.” Nursing Economics$. 27.5 (2008). 5. Print.

Killion, Susan “Ethical Decision Making.” Legal Issues in Nursing: Ethics page 1. 2000.

SLACK, Inc. Web.