ANA Code of Ethics

ANA Code of Ethics




ANA Code of Ethics

Nurses operate within a highly demanding profession that also requires a high level of precision and effectiveness. The profession focuses on saving lives and improving the health and wellbeing of all members of the population. With the importance that is given to human life, there is the expectation that nurses should hold the highest moral and ethical standards that allow effective decision making. While personal values guide the moral and ethical aspects of decision making, nurses also rely on a code of ethics provided by the American Nurses Association. So, what role does the code of ethics play and what are its essential elements?

Role of ANA code of ethics

ANA Code of Ethics. The American Nurses Association (ANA) code of ethics serves as a guide to nurses and acts as a non-negotiable standard for expected behaviour in the profession. Ethical dilemmas in the healthcare system can bring about heated debates among its participants and this including the staff, patients, and the patient’s family members. For nurses, the patient looks upon them to make the right decision that is advantageous to all stakeholders involved. In line with this, the code of ethics becomes the non-negotiable standards upon which the professionals base their behaviour.

Beyond guiding behaviour, the code of ethics is a reminder to nurses about their commitment to society. Nurses have an obligation to ensure health and wellbeing to all members of society while ensuring that there is a betterment of the profession. The code of ethics ensures that the nurses uphold their commitment to society and focus on its inherent wellbeing.

The American Nurses Association is the nursing body tasked with the responsibility of advancing the profession. Progress in the profession is achievable by fostering high standards of nursing practice, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and promoting a safe and ethical work environment. Based on such demands, the code of ethics serves as a guide on the promotion of an ethical work environment committed towards high standards of nursing practice.

Provisions of the code of ethics

The ANA code of ethics has 9 provisions with each addressing a different area. The 9 provisions seek to cover all the elements of the profession while considering the unique situations that nurses encounter in their practice. The provisions include;

Provision 1: the nurse practices with respect and compassion for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person

The provision focuses on elements linked to upholding human dignity regardless of the social and economic situation. Nurses form relationships with patients where the goal is on maximizing health and wellbeing. Nurses must also uphold the patient’s right to self-determination.

Provision 2: nurses have a primary commitment to the patient.

Under this provision, the interests of the patient are of primary concern and this means that the nurse has to relegate his own interests. To achieve the goal of meeting the interests of the patient, the provision allows for collaboration in the professional environment while also emphasizing the need to maintain professional boundaries.

Provision 3: the nurse is an advocate for and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patients.

As an advocate, the nurse has to address areas where there is impaired practice while also acting on questionable areas. Privacy and confidentiality also take a primal concern under this provision.

Provision 4: the nurse is responsible and bears accountability for individual nursing practice while determining the appropriate task delegation in line with fostering optimal care.

The essence of this provision is holding nurses accountable and with responsibility for their judgement and action. Emphasis is on the promotion of the highest levels of care.

Provision 5: the nurse has the same duty to self as to others.

The basis of the provision is the notion of the responsibility to maintain safety and integrity. Moral self-respect, preservation of integrity, the wholeness of character, as well as professional growth fall under this provision.

Provision 6: participating in maintaining, establishing, and improving healthcare environments and employment conditions.

Considering the need for high standards of practice, this provision requires nurses to be at the forefront in improving care quality. A responsibility to the healthcare environment is a defining aspect of quality health.

Provision 7: advancing the profession by contributing to practice, administration, education, and the development of knowledge

The provision emphasizes the need for nurses to be active in nursing and healthcare policy development and maintain high professional standards. Knowledge development, dissemination, and application to practice is also defining aspect in meeting the goals of the provision.

Provision 8: nurses collaborate with the public and other health professionals to promote national, community, and international efforts to meet health needs.

Nurses have an inherent commitment to society and this responsibility involves promoting health needs and concerns.

Provision 9: the nursing profession articulates nursing values with the goal of maintaining the integrity and shaping social policy.

The provision emphasizes asserting values, promoting interprofessional integrity, and participating in social reform.


The ANA code of ethics as exemplified in the 9 provisions is an essential tool that guides ethical decision making. By upholding its provisions, nurses can not only be participants in the delivery of quality healthcare but also the advancement of the profession.