N108: Transition to the Registered Professional Nurse Role Study Guide • The primary concern of the nurse is the patient, whether an individual, family, group, community, or population. • The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient. • The nurse has authority, accountability, and responsibility for nursing practice. The nurse makes decisions and takes action consistent with the obligation to promote health and to provide optimal care. • The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to promote health and safety, preserve wholeness of character and integrity, maintain competence, and continue personal and professional growth. • The nurse, through individual and collective effort, establishes, maintains, and improves the ethical environment of the work setting and conditions of employment that are conducive to safe, quality health care. • The nurse, in all roles and settings, advances the profession through research and scholarly inquiry, professional standards development, and the generation of both nursing and health policy. • The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities. • 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. International Council of Nurses (ICN) Code of Ethics The ICN first adopted a Code of Ethics in 1953, and that code has been revised and reaffirmed several times with the most recent revisions occurring in 2012. The preamble of this code addresses the general responsibilities of the nursing profession and consists of four sections dealing with the more specific concerns of people, practice, the profession, and coworkers. The ICN Code of Ethics includes 4 topics: • The nurse’s primary responsibility is to the people requiring nursing care. • The nurse carries personal responsibility and accountability for nursing practice and for maintaining competence by continual learning. • The nurse assumes the major role in determining and implementing acceptable standards of nursing practice, management, research, and education. • The nurse sustains a cooperative relationship with coworkers in nursing and other fields. Components of Ethical Reasoning When faced with ethical decisions, most hope to find the right answers. Unfortunately, a right answer may not exist for everyone or every situation; such is the nature of dilemmas. Nurses can, however, proceed from a basic framework that encourages them to look beyond their first thoughts or feelings to basic issues. A great deal has been written about the decision making process, which includes the use of moral principles and ethical theories and models to assist in decision making.