The ANA Code of Ethics Overview

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 3
Words: 578
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: Bachelor

Nursing Ethics applies to the activities in the nursing field. It shares its basic principles with medical ethics, such as respect for patients’ health and dignity. One of the provisions of the Nursing Code of Ethics presented by the American Nurses Association states: “The nurse owes the same duties to self as to the others including the responsibility to promote health and safety, preserve wholeness of character and integrity, maintain competence, and continue personal and professional growth”(2015). A nurse is expected to provide help with health-related issues and respect patients’ personal preferences and beliefs if it does not contradict the Code or the Law and does not risk other people’s health, including the health of a nurse.

For excellent performance and providing proper care for patients, nurses need to be a part of an organized team and follow a person with strong leadership skills. Nurses typically have long shifts and work overtime, so there should be a leader to inspire them. A leader’s behavior is always an example for others, so it must also be ethical (Barkhordari-Sharifabad et al., 2016). Unlike doctors, nurses deal with actual current cases; therefore, very often, they must make a critical decision based on evident knowledge. Sometimes that decision can be false and lead to negative consequences, so the strong leader must show support and share responsibility regardless. Based on the provision from The Code, mentioned above, a leader has to help other nurses behave accordingly and provide them with training if required.

According to the Code of Ethics above, one of the main characteristics of the nurse leader is self-awareness, organizational culture, and empathy, support, and care for both patients and colleagues (Barkhordari-Sharifabad et al., 2016). Self-awareness would help the leader to be organized and attentive to the environment and nurses who work there (Barkhordari-Sharifabad et al., 2016). Sometimes, patients are not the only ones who need care. Shifts and overtime work, especially in the hospital, can be exhausting not only physically, but mentally as well, so the leader must be attentive to the health of his nurses.

Moreover, excellent organizational skills can help to maintain order and stability in the workplace and among nurses, which also provide balance with the working hours, so that some nurses do not work more than the others (Barkhordari-Sharifabad et al., 2016).

Empathy, support, and care are essential not only with patients but with co-workers as well (Barkhordari-Sharifabad et al., 2016). For nurses, patients are always in priority, and they must provide proper assistance to help them recover. Even though it is their primary duty, a good leader must remember that a happy and healthy worker does his job significantly better. It applies to the nurses even to a greater extent, since their job is already hard. Therefore, a nurse leader must ensure proper care and support for both patients and colleagues.

The Code of Ethics for Nurses provides provisions on nurses’ rights and obligations (2015). Nurse leaders must follow those rules in the same way, as they demand them from other nurses. However, since the nurse leader must show an example to their co-workers, the Code influences the behavior to follow the provisions strictly, so others do not question their authority. In addition to ethics, leaders also have more professional responsibilities, so it has a significant impact on their job and personalities. A good relationship between nurses and patients can help a better and faster recovery, so nurses must maintain good personal health as well.


Barkhordari-Sharifabad, M., Ashktorab, T., & Atashzadeh-Shoorideh, F. (2016). Ethical competency of nurse leaders: A qualitative study. Nursing Ethics, 25(1), 20–36. Web.

Code of Ethics for Nurses (2015.). Web.