Nurses are bound by legal and ethical standards. To train and prepare nurses for the profession, nursing school programs often require students to research and study topics related to the legal, professional and ethical issues that correspond to nursing duties and responsibilities.
In the nursing profession, ethical issues arise frequently. For a research paper, focus on a particular ethical issue, such as end-of-life care, quality of life or abortion. Discuss this ethical issue in the context of nursing, explaining how nurses must approach such situations and scenarios while still upholding legal and professional ethics.
Ethics Vs. the Law
Identify and discuss any conflicts that exist between ethics and the law and explain how nurses should negotiate such conflicts. Consider how nurses have historically handled conflicts between ethics and the law. For instance, consider instances in which governments have proscribed nurses from treating certain people or practicing in a certain way and analyze how nurses responded to such prejudicial laws, which contradict professional ethics that maintain the inherent dignity and value of all persons.
Discuss the Nightingale Pledge, a nursing adaptation of the Hippocratic oath that
many nursing schools require graduates to take. Explain its historical role, function and purpose, as well as its ethical benefits and limitations. Research arguments in favor of and against the pledge. For instance, address the ethical implications of requiring nurses to pledge to God or address feminists' concerns that nurses pledge to "aid the physician in his work."
For a more historically inclined research paper, chronicle nursing ethics over the last century. Ethics are always evolving, as the situations and scenarios that present themselves to society are constantly new. Examine how nursing ethics have changed over the years. Note important issues, events and laws that significantly impacted the body of nursing ethics.
Discuss a prominent historical or modern figure that has influenced professional ethics. For instance, research the ethical insights and contributions of Florence Nightingale, whose clinical work and writings still inform nursing theory today. Alternatively, discuss a person that has impacted laws on nursing and professional practice.
- "Nursing World": Ethics: Interstate Nursing Practice and Regulation: Ethical Issues for the 21st Century
- Monroe Community College: Legal & Ethical Issues in Nursing
- American Nurses Association: Florence Nightingale Pledge
- "American Journal of Nursing": Is the Florence Nightingale Pledge in Need of a Makeover?
Audrey Farley began writing professionally in 2007. She has been featured in various issues of "The Mountain Echo" and "The Messenger." Farley has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches English composition at a community college.