Why Nursing Ethics Matter

NursingNovember 20, 2017

Nursing has been called a “caring profession” that is part science and part art. It’s also a profession that’s based on strong ethical guidelines. According to, nurses and nurse administrators “have a responsibility to practice in a consistently ethical manner.” They deal with confidentiality issues on a daily basis and must understand when those issues need to be safeguarded…and when they can be overridden.

A very public case of confidentiality arose in July when a Utah nurse was arrested for not complying with a police order. Nurse Alex Wubbels was told to draw blood from an unconscious patient for a police investigation. Refusing the request, Wubbels explained that detectives needed a warrant, patient consent, or had to declare an intent to arrest the patient for her to comply. Instead, a detective cuffed Wubbels, declared he was going to arrest her, and took the nurse to his squad car as Wubbels asserted she had done nothing wrong.

America’s largest nursing union, National Nurses United, called the incident “outrageous,” and public sentiment backed Wubbels when video of her “arrest” went viral. Ultimately, Wubbels was not charged with a crime and Salt Lake City’s mayor apologized for what happened, calling the arrest “unacceptable.”

Still, the incident…though unusual…emphasizes the pressures and the boundaries with which nurses must deal every day - boundaries that guide nursing relationships, such as always treating each patient with dignity and respect; inspiring confidence and trust; and maintaining credibility.

While patients will always be paramount for nurses, it’s easy to see why being the best nurse possible for one’s patient often extends beyond the physical care a nurse provides. And why nursing knowledge includes much more than just clinical healthcare.

As has often been said, “It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse.” If you’re one of those special people, Fortis Colleges and Institutes provide the education and training that can help you excel in the profession. To learn more about the school’s nursing options and the campuses nearest to you that offer nursing programs, explore our nursing programs page.

It’s a career that will be challenging, for sure; but also very rewarding. Because, nursing never goes out of style.

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