Use and impact of the ANA Code: a scoping review

Nursing Ethics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Adherence to professional ethics in nursing is fundamental for high-quality ethical care. However, analysis of the use and impact of nurses’ codes of ethics as a part of professional ethics is limited. To fill this gap in knowledge, the aim of our review was to describe the use and impact of the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements published by the American Nurses Association as an example of one of the earliest and most extensive codes of ethics for nurses with their interpretative statements and constituting a strong basis for the International Council of Nurses’ Code of Ethics for Nurses. We based our review on previous literature using a scoping review method. We included both non-scientific and scientific publications to provide an analysis of codes of ethics which can be utilized in development and revision of other nurses’ codes of ethics. In the searches, we used CINAHL and PubMed databases limiting publications to texts with a connection to the Code of Ethics for Nurses published from January 2001 to November 2022 and written in English. Searches yielded 1739 references, from which 785 non-scientific and 71 scientific publications were included for analysis of the data. Although non-scientific and scientific publications addressed different number of categories, the results indicated that in the both groups the use and impact focused on professional ethics, nursing practice, and work environment and less on education, research, or social health issues. Nurses’ ethical standards were not addressed in non-scientific publications, and clinical issues and leadership were not in focus in scientific publications. To increase evidence-based knowledge of the impact of codes of ethics additional research is needed. Good scientific conduct was followed.

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