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Nursing in Australia, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1709

Essay

Nursing Codes

There are three codes inherent to the world of nursing as it applies to Australia. The codes are the Code of Ethics for Midwives in Australia, the Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia, and the ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses. These three codes are the governing tools by which the nurses in Australia practice their skills and abide by the mission statements set forth as they seek to provide healthcare to all patients that require their services. The codes are alike in many ways and have their differences. This article seeks to expand on these as well as apply these principles to daily nursing practice.

In the Code of Ethics for Midwives in Australia, a midwife is explained as a person who provides care for a woman and her infant. The midwife is a person who will take on the role of doctor/nurse during pregnancy, childbirth, and will help give early neonatal care for the newborn child (Code of ethics for midwives in Australia, 2005). This is the basic duty of a midwife and the profession has existed for hundreds of years, albeit the official standards have not been written for that long. The midwives are respectful and kind to each patient and their respective children, as they understand it is the duty of the midwife and they have taken it upon themselves to provide quality care during this important time in the life of the patient. They also feel the importance of human diversity. There are times a midwife will find herself in a situation when the culture is going to be vastly different from her own. This should not deter the midwife, but cause her to strive to make the experience a richer one for the mother to be and the infant. Ultimately, the midwife is a liaison between cultures and many times will act as a bridge because otherwise healthcare could not be delivered effectively.

The midwife is a person who is a staunch proponent for making informed decisions and ensuring the safety of her patients, no matter the situation or environment. She also wants to keep the quality of all information as ethical as possible and understands the importance of this because some of the cultures are going to be much different from her own. This will establish a level of trust and compassion that will, in turn, help with the overall wellbeing of the family. (Code of ethics for midwives in Australia, 2005).

The purposes for the Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia are to identify the standards set by the country of Australia and ensure the ethics are met as well as any other guidelines that fall under those categories. The code helps guide nurses with decision making and practice, but does not act as a substitute for one’s personal judgment as it is believed nurses should already understand what is to be right and fair and ethical. The bottom line for nurses is to provide quality care for all people.

Nurses should always have respect and kindness for everyone and value the diversity of the human being. They also hold value in providing access to quality care for each individual as well as making sure each patient is informed of the decisions which are to be made about his or her care. They hold great value in the ethical management of all patient records and other information. This is important in a time when ethics and morals are challenged on a daily basis (Code of ethics for nurses in Australia, 2005).

The ICN Code of Ethics also states four responsibilities for nurses and these align with the other two handbooks as well. The four responsibilities are to promote health, decrease suffering, prevent illness, and restore health (ICN Code of ethics for nurses, 2006). It is important for every nurse and midwife to abide by all four responsibilities, as this will ensure the best patient care possible each and every day. If all four of these are not taken seriously, there can be dire consequences to the patient and tragedy could result. This would not be a good outcome for the individual nurse or the nursing profession as a whole.

Although there are variances in the three separate handbooks and there are variances between the jobs of a midwife and a nurse, there are many similarities in the codes and ethics between the three. Each promotes the importance of human life and abides by the ethical treatment of that life. This includes keeping the patient aware of all decisions being made on his or her part as to the care he or she will be receiving as part of the treatment option. It is important to establish this amount of trust with the patient because it helps the patient remain calm in a time of unease and assures the nurse or midwife will be at her best at all times, both good and bad.

Also, the handbooks speak on the importance of human diversity. This is important because as a nurse or midwife there will be several encounters with diverse cultures and often these will be far from the comforts of one’s own cultural norms. It is important to embrace those differences while providing care in order to ensure the best care is given to the patient. This is especially true if the patient is part of a culture that does not believe in the use of certain medicines or practices. It is imperative that these things be respected. A person’s culture is a defining tool of his own self and thus a nurse or midwife is responsible for ensuring that definition is not jeopardized. To some extent, the nurse or midwife acts as an advocate on the patient’s behalf if there is something that will go in a direct opposition of the cultural practices of the patient’s family. The nurse or midwife must make the decision to step in and be the voice of morality and ethics and ensure the patient’s medical needs are being met without jeopardizing his identity.

The three handbooks are different in the fact that one of the handbooks is concerned strictly with the midwife profession and highlights this exclusively. This is a specialization and is something greatly needed in rural areas throughout Australia due to the various tribal people groups and medicinal practices. The midwives are special groups of nursing personnel because they are willing and able to step into a culture unlike their own and conduct themselves in such a manner as to ensure safety of the mother and infant, no matter the situation.

The two other handbooks are indeed both about nursing; however, the Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia is written strictly for nurses in Australia is tailored around them. The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses is a more general guide to nurses in the surrounding areas and will help Australian nurses, but is not aimed specifically at that focus group like the other handbook. Both handbooks are quite important and contain essential mission statements and core values as well as goals that should be carried out as long as the nurse is practicing in his or her chosen area of specialty.

Each handbook states the importance of four key people in the practice of nursing. They are self, person, colleague, and community. Self is the individual and this is the person for whom the rules and consequences will directly reflect upon. It is important to ensure that self is ethical and moral and upholds him or herself to the highest professional and personal standards. Person would be defined as the patient. Person is important because without person there would be no job. It is important to remember person and strive to make person a central part of every goal and objective in the scope of nursing practice. Colleague is important because one’s relationship with his or her colleagues are integral in the overall teamwork concept of a hospital and having the ability to get a job taken care of quickly and accurately with the least amount of compromise to the patient. Community is exceptionally important because it really encompasses every individual and is the end result of the job that is performed each day. If the job is performed to the highest ethical and moral standards, then community will be proud and this will have a direct impact on colleague, person, and self. It really is a cycle and continues in a circular direction, never ceasing as long as there are sick patients and there are those willing and able to provide care for those patients.

In the midwifery specialization, the same theme exists, only this theme is more from a rural standpoint and not a hospital and community administrative one. There are self (the midwife), person (the mother), colleague (if there is another midwife present or it could apply to a family member willing to help), and community (this would be the rural village or tribe). The theme in this instance is perhaps even more pronounced and important because the cycle must remain unbroken in order to ensure accurate care is delivered due to the fact there is no other direct source of healthcare close by. In remote areas, this is the only option and there must be a factor of trust and a two way understanding of this cycle in order to properly have every person treated accurately and without compromise.

So whether the nursing specialty is in a hospital or clinic or the specialty is a midwife in a rural area, the ethics and standards set forth in the three handbooks are important for every nurse and midwife in the field in order for the proper care to be given to every patient regardless of his or her culture, ethnicity, geographical location, or any other factor involved. There will always be similarities and differences amongst the three, but each of these will be of particular importance for those in the field and those entering the field. They are a true token of what nursing is about.

References

(2005). Code of ethics for midwives in Australia. Australian Nursing Federation, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council, Brisbane.

(2005). Code of ethics for nurses in Australia. Australian Nursing Federation, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council, Brisbane.

(2006). ICN code of ethics for nurses. International Council of Nurses, Geneva.

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