Ethical Leadership Model in Nursing


Ethics in nursing is essential because nursing is a career that requires high moral standards. The nurse knows that his or her work is to serve the patients diligently. Nurses must not have any boundaries when dealing with healthcare consumers. Nursing has no race, tribe or social class. In nursing, there must be clear guidelines for the leaders to effectively and efficiently do their work. Leaders need to provide means for their followers to accept their jobs as a talent that adds value to their customers. As long as they are treating patients they must give their best.

A nurse or physician needs to ensure that he or she uses clean syringes to administer medication. It is highly unethical to provide healthcare consumers with services in a dirty environment. All equipment in the room must have a high standard of hygiene. A nurse should not be the one that provides a breeding environment for bacteria and other ailments. The paper would discuss the ethical value in leadership and nursing career.

The Role of Ethics in Nursing Leadership

In the nursing career, there are important decisions that the physicians and the nurses have to make every day. They base their judgments on the critical ethical principles. There are about seven principles that help define the meaning of right decisions (“Ethical principles in healthcare,” 2015). They have become the guidelines for the health care sector.


It requires the nurses to remain competent in their work to prevent causing suffering or injury to the patients. It is at the center of nursing ethics principles. All nurses must take this oath to show that they have the right interest of their patients.


It involves doing well and advocating for the patients’ well-being. The nurses must maintain positive actions towards helping the health care consumers and their colleagues in achieving their best interest (Wright & Brajtman, 2011). The nurses must be quick to respond to patient care. For instance, a nurse should act fast to give medication to a patient who accidently falls and fractures a limb.


It is an opportunity for the patient to make free-willed decisions concerning his or her health condition. The patient has the right to choose whether to continue taking medication, staying in the hospital or even leaving the hospital. The patient also has the right to make choices of who would decide their medication fate in case they are not able to do it. There is the Patient Self- Determination Act of 1990 that allows the patient to find an individual who is the durable power of attorney (“Statement of ethical principles,” 2013). The person can prescribe the kind of medication and or sign on behalf of the client.


It is a requirement that the nurses treat all patients fairly and if possible equally. They need to allocate quality time to each customer. They also need to consider patients’ needs without segregation. When distributing resources, they have to ensure that all patients get resources that they deserve. The methods for distribution of medical aids and treatment must be fair and unbiased.


Nurses need to have a virtue of caring. Loyalty, truthfulness and dedication are examples of fidelity qualities. A patient may have some information concerning his or her medication that he or she does not want to disclose to certain people. The nurses have to ensure that they adhere to such promises without fail. Confidential information must remain so until the client decides otherwise.


Apart from the usual treatment, nurses may have beliefs about the patient’s recovery process that they may choose to withhold from them (“Statement of ethical principles,” 2013). The patient may have the fear of particular medication or hearing the diagnosis of some diseases. It is upon the nurse to make right judgments even after withholding the information from his or her patient because of perceived or known reaction from the client.

Principles of Totality and Integrity

The nurses may have a patient who has to undergo a given therapy. The treatment may seriously affect his health even as it helps to improve the diagnosed ailment. It allows the nurses and or physicians to make sure that whatever medication they would be providing would be suitable for the well being of the patient in totality (Reed, 2012).

Ethical leadership provides the nurses with an opportunity to make teamwork improvements. Quality is not necessarily providing ethics standards. Sometimes quality deals with mechanical structures while ethics deals with emotional feelings. Nurse leaders are supposed to inspire their peers and build teamwork in an organization. Collaboration is important in the nursing field. It helps to build cohesiveness.

An Ethical Leadership Situation

Peter is suffering from throat cancer. He informs the nurse leader he does not want to finish his savings on medication because he wants it to be an inheritance for his lovely grandson. The nurse manager agrees to hide the information from the family but continues to provide conventional therapy to the patient. However, the nurse leader does not understand why Peter wants to die at the expense of his grandson who has able parents. He also does not know what the family would think of him. It is the application of the principle of fidelity (Makaroff, Storch, Pauly & Newton, 2014).

Although the nurse leader has a right to make the correct judgment for both parties, he or she should also discharge hi mandate to the client’s wishes. The best way the nurse leader could help is to approach the family with a suggestion for their input in Peter’s medication. He or she may not disclose Peter’s condition but may help to restore his health.

Application of Ethical Model

One of the ethical problems in nursing is the inability of nurses to provide quality services fairly to all health care consumers. Sometimes the medication available may not be sufficient for all patients (Alok, 2015). It would require the nurse to either deny other patients access to medicines or give all them a dose that is not sufficient for their recovery from illness. The patients who get the full dose medication may get well (Crigger, 2009). The nurse may have helped to save lives. On the other hand, the other patients would not have gotten their medication. It could cause their condition to deteriorate. The nurse leader may not have made the judgment that allows all patients to gain access o correct medication. Such dilemmas occur in the medical field (Seifert, 2008).


There are particular codes of ethics that nurses have to adhere to in their practice. It is important that the nursing fraternity sticks to the right principles when dealing with health care consumers. Ethical nursing leadership gives insights into the best practices for current and future applications. A nurse leader must provide his peers and colleagues with the best collaboration methods in presenting the best care to the patients.


Alok, K. (2015). Sāttvika leadership: An indian model of positive leadership. J Bus Ethics. 20(3), 120-121.

Crigger, N. (2009). The ANA code of ethics. OR Nurse, 3(3), 15-19.

Ethical principles in healthcare. (2015). The pharmaceutical journal. 1, 15.

Makaroff, K., Storch, J., Pauly, B., & Newton, L. (2014). Searching for ethical leadership in nursing. Nursing Ethics, 21(6), 642-658.

Reed, G. (2012). Leading questions: Leadership, ethics, and administrative evil. Leadership, 8(2), 187-198.

Seifert, P. (2008). The ANA code of ethics and AORN’s explications. Perioperative Nursing Clinics, 3(3), 183-189.

Statement of Ethical Principles. (2013). Measurement and control, 5, 46.

Wright, D., & Brajtman, S. (2011). Relational and embodied knowing: Nursing ethics within the interprofessional team. Nursing Ethics, 18(1), 20-30.

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