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(Singleton, 2010, p. 143)
There has been a considerable shift in the perception of a “good nurse” over the years. Traditionally, literature concerning nursing ethics indicates that the merits of the nurse included such qualities like being respectful towards authority (especially of medicine), being loyal to duty, being careful, being calm, gentle and clean. Sympathy, concern or any kind of emotional attachment with a patient was discouraged and was considered to be a weakness in the character of the nurse. The early literature also mentions unwillingness to ‘report’ another nurse or defy any unsafe practice. Other essential qualities budding from the ethics literature were obedience, tolerance, serenity, modesty, humility etc. (Begley, 2010, p. p. 527-531)In the past the training of nurses in matters of ethics often focused on things like how to dress and to show respect (etiquette) rather than act upon the moral perceptions of practice (ethics). However, this does not indicate that all nurses were meek and timid and were not able to think for themselves. But in actuality, the culture was such that it did not encourage assertiveness or support challenges to the authorities. (Meehan, 2012, p. 2905)
The nursing practitioner today is expected to question and team up with other professionals instead of just obeying instructions of the superiors. Patients’ well being is the first priority and today nurses are accountable for their actions and are given the responsibility to guard the patients from the mistakes and carelessness of others. Today the nurses are expected to have a strong knowledge of their work and they are expected to be sufficiently confident to confront doubtful practice. Based on right knowledge and information, today’s nurse should report any method or behavior or action practiced that is unethical, unsafe, illegal or incompetent in nature. Thus, modern codes of ethics
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