Nursing Ethics

Check out this year's roster of books for the MNA Ethics Book Club

The MNA Committee on Ethics recognizes the very challenging environment in which nurses work. As nursing practice changes rapidly, nurses are challenged with new ethical dilemmas.The MNA Committee on Ethics launched its own Ethically Speaking column in the Minnesota Nursing Accent. The column addresses the ethical challenges nurses encounter in every day practice. It gives guidance on how the Code of Ethics for Nurses can be used in day-to-day practice.

If you would like the MNA Committee on Ethics to address ethical issues or a topic you are confronted with in the workplace, identify and describe the ethical concern and submit to Megan Gavin, MNA Education Specialist, Minnesota Nurses Association, 345 Randolph Ave., Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55102. Please do not use names of agencies, patients or other staff or any patient identifying data. Do not include any patient records. It is also not necessary to identify yourself. Remember your confidential obligations under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Include your name and mailing information for a response from the Ethics Committee.

Ethics Glossary of Terms

The following terms are foundational principles during ethical decision-making in nursing practice.

To lead for or on behalf of another
The right of a competent individual to self govern or to exercise self-determination.
The ethical obligation to do good to and for one's client
Distributive Justice
The ethical principle of fair distribution of resources to all members of society.
The ethical obligation to be faithful to relationships and to keep promises.
The ethical obligation to avoid harm to and for one's client.
To tell the truth


Friedman, Robert.  (2005).  Living Will is the Best Revenge.  St. Petersburg FL:  St. Petersburg Times.

American Nurses Association.  (2001).  Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements.  Silver Spring, MD:  American Nurses Association Publishing Program.
American Nurses Association.  (2008).  Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses.  Silver Spring, MD:  Nursesbooks.ogr, The Publishing Program of ANA.
Colby, William H.  (2002).  Long Goodbye:  The Deaths of Nancy Cruzan.  Hay House, Inc.
Davis, A.J., Aroskar, M.A., Liaschenko, J. & Drought, T.S. (1997) Ethical Dilemmas and Nursing Practice (4th Ed.). Stamford, Connecticut, Appleton-Lange.
Fuhrman, Mark.  (2005).  Silent Witness:  The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo’s Death.  HarperCollins Publishers.
Garrett, Thomas M., et al. (2001). Health Care Ethics:  Principles and Problems (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Jansen, Albert R., et al. (2006). Clinical Ethics – A Practical Approach to Ethical Decisions in Clinical Medicine (6th Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Nicol, Neal; Wylie, Harry.  (2006).  Between the Dying and the Dead:  Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s Life and the Battle to Legalize Euthanasia.  University of Wisconsin Press.
Picoult, Jodi.  (2005).  My Sister’s Keeper.  Simon & Schuster.  (also available on DVD)
Stewart, Gary P.  (2004).  Basic Questions on Genetics, Stem Cell Research and Cloning:  Are These Technologies Okay to Use?  Kregel Publications.
Webb, Marilyn.  (1999).  The Good Death:  The New American Search to Reshape the End of Life.  Bantam Books.
Web Sites