A Proposal for a Code of Ethics for Nurse Practitioners


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Abstract

PurposeTo review established codes for health care professionals and standards of practice for the nurse practitioner (NP) and to utilize these codes and standards, general ethical themes, and a new ethical triangle to propose an ethical code for NPs.Data SourcesReviews of three generally accepted ethical themes (deontological, teleological, and areteological), the ethical triangle by Potter, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) standards of practice for NPs, and codes of ethics from the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Medical Association (AMA).ConclusionsA proposal for a code of ethics for NPs is presented. This code was determined by basic ethical themes and established codes for nursing, formulated by the ANA, and for physicians, formulated by the AMA. The proposal was also developed in consideration of the AANP standards of practice for NPs.Implications for PracticeThe role of the NP is unique in its ethical demands. The authors believe that the expanded practice of NPs presents ethical concerns that are not addressed by the ANA code and yet are relevant to nursing and therefore different than the ethical concerns of physicians. This proposal attempts to broaden NPs’ perspective of the role that ethics should hold in their professional lives.

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