The code of professional conduct calls for a high standard of professional behaviour from the nurses, regulating the nursing and midwifery practice in order to ensure standards and proving protection for the clients. Nursing, in essence, is a care system that springs from safe, caring, and competent and educated decision making, and nurse is a professional who is willing to accept personal and professional accountability for evidence-based practice (Wiseman, 2007, 167-173).
Ethical decisions are made in nursing in every moment of care without being conscious about the particular theories on which these decisions are made. Ethics implies transparency and public accountability. There are two different ways of viewing ethics, normative and descriptive. Normative or prescriptive principles of ethics lead to the professional codes of conduct. Theories of ethics are most useful in nursing for reflections on situation and for discussions of value formation. The heart of ethics is concerned with justice and truth and how the principles interrelate with each other and with behaviour between people. Nurses have generally concerned themselves with the normative aspects of ethics, since they have always been involved with wider issues of health, such as the significance and meaning of suffering and death and the role and purpose of caring and compassion (Griffith and Tengnah, 2005, 339-343).
Theories of ethics tend to be exclusive and consistent only within their own reasoning. To make them accessible, clear principles are needed that embody and cover the main tenets of the theories. The best known approach to ethics within healthcare is that propagated by the four principles of respect for autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice. However, this set does not include specific mention of truth telling or honesty. Theories of ethics would claim that actually doing good takes priority over simply avoiding harm. These can be seen from another perspective also. If one has a duty to oneself, beneficence comes first; if to others, then nonmaleficence comes first (Memarian et al., 2007, 203-214).
In many instances in nursing and healthcare, non-maleficence appears to be certainly more applicable than beneficence. Doing no harm is an important principle because it keeps before practitioners' minds the obligation to practice their skills with every respect. Autonomy is not individual freedom. Nurse has her autonomy to practice not affecting in any way the autonomy of the patient. The ethical principle of respect for autonomy is perhaps more specific than the principles of value of life. Respect for the person is rooted in the desire to avoid suffering, but doing precisely, this can interfere with another's freedom. Respect for others is an essential ethical principle and task, but it is not to be used exclusively, that is, respecting only the person of the patient to the exclusion of the individual's carers. Beneficence is the duty to do good and the active promotion of benevolent acts. It may also include the injunction not to inflict harm. Nonmaleficence is the duty not to inflict harm as well as to prevent and remove harm. Nonmaleficence may be included within the principle of beneficence, in which case