The intention of the code of ethics is to direct and help registered nurses practice ethically safe so no harm can be done to clients (New Zealand Nursing Organisation, 2010). Firstly this essay will describe an issue that was conflicting whilst on clinical placement. Secondly this essay will discuss the ethical principle of being professional which is defined in the code of ethics. Lastly this essay will discuss the importance of a nurse being professional with a patient and how I would change the situation if I was faced with a similar ethical issue. A patient who had the same beliefs and values as I did therefore we became quite close friends. I had stated that I would bring in a book to read to the patient whose condition had caused her to be blind. As a result the family started to ask me if I would visit the nurse outside of working hours and furthermore invited me to a lunch date. Griffith and Tengnah state that “You must, at all times, maintain appropriate professional boundaries in the relationships you have with patients. You must ensure that all aspects of the relationship focus exclusively upon the needs of the patient or client” (2013).
Being professional is one of the ethical principles stated in the code of ethics for New Zealand nurses to adhere by (2010). As a nurse there are roles to be undertaken whilst maintaining a beneficial and trusting relationship with the patient therefore professional boundaries are required to be set and adhered to (College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia, 2002). Stein-Parbury explains that as a nurse it is sometime a battle to restrict themselves from being a friend rather than a goal driven professional because they can sometimes feel that the role is too mundane and believe that the patient will feel connected to and have lowered anxiety levels if the nurse is the patients friend (2011).
A competent nurse demonstrates the ability to plan, set and cultivate professional boundaries within the relationship between the nurse and patient. Negligence of professionalism as a nurse can not only do harm to the patient and the family but also to the nurses career (National council of state boards of nursing, 2011). By building a therapeutic relationship that consists of having professional boundaries, it prevents confusion on the role of the nurse and not feel that the roles have been reversed. As a third year nursing student I should have the ability to be able to put boundaries in place, separating my beliefs and values from the patient.
In the future I need to identify my weaknesses when setting boundaries and then becoming accountable to my preceptor so I can learn, grow and become a competent proficient nurse. The code of ethics is a vital tool for nurses to grasp hold of and abide by the principles. It allows nurses to be aware of and how to differentiate professionalism and therapeutic relationships with patients. Ethical conflicts happen every day in the health sector, therefore it is important for nurses to reflect on what went wrong so they can learn from their mistakes. As a student nurse it is a good learning opportunity to what is learnt and be alert to ethical issues that may arise in future and how to approach them differently.
College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia. (2002).Professional boundaries and expectations for nurse-client relationships. Retrieved from http://www.crnns.ca/documents/professionalboundaries.pdf
Griffith, R., & Tengnah, C. (2013). Maintaining professional boundaries: keep your distance. 18(1), 43. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezyproxy.wintec.ac.nz/nrc/pdf?sid=ffd17918-fa93-4436- [email protected]&vid=8&hid=19
National council of state boards of nursing. (2011). A nurse’s guide to professional boundaries. Retrieved from https://www.ncsbn.org/ProfessionalBoundaries_Complete.pdf
New Zealand nurses organisation. (2010). Code of ethics. Retrieved from http://www.nzno.org.nz/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=t6vd5nIYak4=
Stein-Parbury, J. (2011). Patient and person: Interpersonal skills in nursing. (p. 27). New South Wales: Elsevier Health Sciences. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=htu- 0fHB4TUC&pg=PA27&dq=being professional as a nurse&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9-lbUfSCFsPClAX-7IDYCA&ved=0CEgQ6AEwBQ