Nursing ethics in an era of pandemic

Cheryl Dellasega, Mary Louise Kanaskie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: The ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses, regularly revised since 1896, may not provide guidance in an era of pandemic and sociopolitical unrest. Purpose: This study explored whether the Code of Ethics comprehensively address current nursing challenges. Methods: 23 nurses participated in six Zoom focus groups to discuss whether provisions were applicable to their current practice. An iterative approach was used to review transcripts independently and then merge findings to identify ethical themes. Findings: Provisions 4, 6, and 8 were most relevant. None of the provisions addressed the guilt secondary to isolating patients from support systems and not being “on the front lines” of COVID care. Discussion: The co-occurring crises of COVID-19 and social unrest created an ethical crisis for many nurses. The Code of Ethics provided a useful guide for framing discussion and formulating strategies for change, but did not eliminate distress during a time of novel challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number151508
JournalApplied Nursing Research
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing


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