Nursing ethics are defined as a conglomerate of all types of ethics and bioethical matters, from the perspective of theoretical and practical nursing (Lagerwey, 2010). There is a code of ethical conduct that every nurse has to comply with. The set of principles has been developed since ancient times, whereas some have been included recently to cover the changes in the dynamic health care sector.
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The birth control movement in the United States of America was a campaign for social reforms that fought for the increased availability of contraception. They advocated that the public should be educated on contraception and that it has to be made legally, led by Margaret Sanger. Today contraception has been made legitimate and freely available without negative moral connotations in the United States (Spector, 2004).
Nurses are bound to be guided by social concerns of their patients, for instance, in providing health care that is culturally sensitive, and to enhance bridging the gaps of health care disparities (Davis, 1963). Consequently, nurses should have basic knowledge of the diverse cultures and customs, and thereby work with constructive attitudes. Within this period, different races were treated differently, which made an impact on nursing care for other cultures unlike today (Spector, 2004).
Poliomyelitis was among the ailments that were common, with its epidemic phase running from 1918 to 1955 (Lagerwey, 2010). In 1928, a negative pressure ventilator was discovered to employ in the treatment of polio, which was known as the iron lung. Soon it became a common fixture in polio wards. With this machine came the moral question whether once has the iron lung saved a polio life, or the patient was just to remain strapped in it forever (Lagerwey, 2010). Today the ethical questions of life continue to support machines based on the appropriate time to turn off the machine, as a relief to a brain of dead patient through euthanasia (Spector, 2004).
In conclusion, some of the professional ethical issues that emerged were informed and in other instances dictated by societal norms. This is also the case today, and therefore some controversial ethical questions back in the day have been made obsolete by society within time. Hence, nurses were subordinates who at times were in opposition to the disease curing physician ethics. Today nursing ethics are holistic in treating patients, asserting their rights, and are applied by health care professionals.
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