Essay Example on Professional Codes in Nursing and Midwifery in Australia

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Middlebury College
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Moreover, one nursing and midwifery code of ethics is the International Midwifes Code of Ethics (Chadwick & Gallagher, 2016). The international midwife code of ethics requires midwives to respond to spiritual, physical and psychological needs of all women who seek health care. The international code of midwifery relationships requires midwives to work with the pregnant woman before and after giving birth, by engaging them actively in making decisions concerning their health status and that of their families (Chadwick & Gallagher, 2016).

A second professional standard is the Australian nursing and midwifery principle on accountability (Kangasniemi et al., 2015). As well as this, it outlines a professional responsibility advocate two important values for nurses and midwives. One, the code states that nurses and midwives are responsible for the actions, attitudes and practice, including omission and inaction Kangasneimi et al., 2015. Secondly, nurses and midwives are to advocate for patients through fighting for their rights (Kangasniemi et al., 2015). Whats more, The Australian standard of conducts requires nurses and midwives to inform their Unit Manager, or the correct authorities, of potential harm to patients (Hunt, 2015). In this instance, they have the conscientious objection to act, based on moral, or religious beliefs relevant to their professional practice (Hunt, 2015). The nurses and midwives are also in a position to talk to their patients, educate them and advise them accordingly about the health effects that may be caused by some of the decisions they wish to take (Johnstone, 2015). The code also requires nurses and midwives to provide care to patients in cases where their welfare is at risk (reference).

A third professional code of conduct is the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF). The federations position statement on child abuse and neglect states the roles a nurse or a midwife should do to protect child maltreatment (Herring 2014). Nursing & Federation (2014) defines child maltreatment as the neglect and abuse that is subjected to child below the age of 18. This includes all, but not limited to, exploitation, neglect, sexual harassment and emotional and physical ill-treatment. The federation calls for nurses and midwives to recognise the childrens vulnerable status and provide them with the necessary protections that they may require (Gastmans 2013). The federation also provides protocols, policies and reporting guidelines for nurses and midwives to use in case they spot a child at risk of neglect or abuse. Lastly, the federation provides training, education and the necessary support to a parent who is at risk of the same or similar neglect, abuse or is identified as vulnerable (Hunt et al., 2015).


The professional codes and standards for the professional nursing practice and the discipline of biomedical healthcare commonly utilise the concept of human dignity (Chadwick & Gallagher 2016). Cheraghi, Manookian & Nasrabadi (2014) defines human dignity as a sense of empowerment, physical and psychological integrity, self-respect and self-worth, which is provided to an individual or a group of people. Registered nurses play a vital role in promoting human dignity. The nurses are in the best position in the healthcare facility to act as the advocate or liaison between patients, their families and other departments and team members (Grace 2017). To achieve this, a nurse must be knowledgeable and have a positive relationship with the patients, and have participated in the care of the patient (Baynes 2013). There are three core values within the code of ethics that promote the human dignity and human rights of patients; freedom from suffering, patient equality, preserving human dignity (Herring 2014). Nurses and midwives are supposed to ensure service delivery and preserve human dignity (Johnstone 2015). Patients and their families are often frightened, anxious or confused and this is the time when a nurse or a midwifes advocacy is required most (Grace 2017). The nurse or midwife should help the patients interpret instructions, procedures, and tests conducted by a physician (Hunt et al,. 2015). Furthermore, the nurses and midwives should educate the patients on the need to carry on a certain procedure or medical test and provide them with physical and emotional support throughout the process (Wronka, 2016). A positive outcome for the patients health status should remain the goal of all healthcare practitioners (Dittmer 2017) and this is something Jane should have encouraged for Tiffany when she was attending counselling for drug and alcohol dependency.

A second core value of ethics that promote human integrity is the patients equality (Gastmans 2013). The code of ethics gives registered nurses and midwives like Jane, a directive to practice their professional duties with respect and compassion for the uniqueness, worth and inherent dignity of every individual (Scheneider & Bluestein 2016). This is without restrictions from the nature of the health problem, personal attributes or social and economic status (Wronka 2016). The same degree used to provide care for one patient must be used to provide health care for the other patients, without allowing personal biases influence their professionalism.

The final value of the code of ethics that support human dignity is the freedom from suffering (Parahoo 2014). The most important aspect of care, from the perspective of the patient, is the help they receive from a registered nurse or midwife to manage or prevent suffering, whether psychological, physical or emotional (Baynes 2013). Registered nurses and midwives are required to be closer to their patients and families to be able to offer them a friendly ear and provide emotional support when it is needed (Baynes 2013). Tiffany, may have been going through emotional abuse from her partner who verbally abused her in the anti-natal clinic Jane works in. This could have been the reason why she became alcohol dependant leading to alcohol addiction, and may also be a contributing factor as to why she wanted to be discharged faster than usual from the ward, out of fear. It would be ethical if Jane stepped in and offered emotional support and education on what services are available to ensure her and her new borns safety and welfare are in good hands (Gastmans, 2013).


Issues arising from the case may be demonstrated and considered in relation to the ethical theory of deontology; Baynes (2013) argues that the deontology theory deals with action based on obligations and not happiness or personal gain. The theory was popularised by Immanuel Kant, a German Philosopher. Kant considered two qualities that he regarded as essential for an action to be seen as ethical (Gastmans 2013). First, it was wrong for one to sacrifice the freedom of others for them to achieve their own mission or desired goals. As such, if the freedom of others is taken away by a certain action, the action taken is no longer morally correct or ethical. Secondly, he held that the outcome of a situation does not determine what is good. Instead the action made does and goodwill is most important. Kant also declared that an action that is driven by duty alone makes an act to be considered, it must be absolute ethical (Dittmer 2017). His Golden Rule explains that acts such as infidelity, stealing, lying or harassment, that no one likes to be done to them, should also not be done to others (Lazar, 2017).


There are four main principles of health care ethics that improve the health care of patients (Hunt et al., 2015). The first princ...

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