This issue of JCN offers readers a great opportunity to brush up their knowledge of what constitutes ethical nursing practice. The cover feature continuing education (CE) article, “Faith and Ethics, Covenant and Code: The 2015 Revision of the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements” by Marsha D. Fowler (pp. 216-224), offers a nice refresher and concise update on our ethical code for professional practice.
At first glance, the CE article may seem daunting. But I promise, you'll learn a lot, and find yourself more confident about following our Code of Ethics for Nurses (the Code). You'll come to appreciate how the Code can be applied to your everyday work, whether you're a student, nurse educator, bedside nurse, nurse manager, administrator, and/or researcher (or a journal editor!).
For some, Fowler's overview of the 2015 revisions to the nine Provisions and corresponding Interpretive Statements will reawaken your excitement about what is best in nursing. You'll see how nursing's ethical code has and continues to guide, support, and lead our practice. (Hint: this is a rich resource for undergraduate, graduate students, and clinical and university educators.)
What is particularly interesting about this article is Fowler's discussion of how the 2015 revisions to the Code can impact nurses of faith. She addresses things like how the Code speaks to the values and ideals of our faith, to conscientious objection, the taking of life, and nurses' wholeness of character. You will be challenged by her discussion of social justice and creation care. Pray for Nurses Christian Fellowship and JCN as we work to understand God's call to us to act on issues of concern in our world, for people and his creation.
For Christian nurses, Fowler offers what may seem provocative (controversial?) in her explanation of how the Code interprets faith-sharing and evangelism in patient care. (Are you interested yet?) Spend some time digesting her discussion of the moral grounds for and against evangelism in patient care. Reflect on how you have shared your faith with patients in the past. Ask God to teach you. Study the Bible and discover its hidden treasures (Hebrews 4:12-16). I know retrieving those treasures can seem formidable. But start digging into an organized study of Scripture. In moments of striking epiphany, and over time, God will speak to you. Ask God to direct you in the future, as you interact with those entrusted to your care. Trust God that he can and will connect you with patients in ways that he wants.
I want to emphasize that this CE feature article can impact nurses of faith because it is up to you to digest and use the information. Practicing ethically isn't easy. No matter where we practice nursing, it is tough to be consistently moral, faithful, and conscientious. However, I am inspired to be a diligent nurse by the apostle Paul's words to the first-century Christians. I offer these verses in The Message translation, but read them in various translations to grasp the full meaning and significance for you.
So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being Christian doesn't cover up bad work. Colossians 3:1-2, 23-25
May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it! 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Never forget that the God who called you into nursing will help you practice the way he designed.