A multiple sclerosis (MS) nurse has a professional moral obligation. The purpose of this obligation is to guide the MS nurse in the practice of multiple sclerosis nursing. This moral obligation is defined as performance of a morally good act., rather, what ought to be done or should be done. The multiple sclerosis nurse provides care to promote the health and well-being of MS patients and families.

Ethical principles that guide the MS nurse are: autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance, stewardship and justice.

Autonomy:  Respect for self-determination.
Beneficence:  Moral requirement to promote good.
Non-malfeasance:  Do no harm.
Stewardship:  Preserve your own being.
Justice:  Fair and equitable determination distribution of resources and fair treatment for individuals and society.

ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses

    1. The nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and uniqueness of every patient, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes or the nature of the health problem.

    2. The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group or community.

    3. The nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.

    4. The nurse is responsible for and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse’s obligation to provide optimum patient care.

    5. The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth.

    6. The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving healthcare environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values of the profession through individual and collective action.

    7. The nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, administration, and knowledge development.

    8. The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public in promoting community, national, and international efforts to meet health needs.

    9. The profession of nursing, as represented by associations and their members, is responsible for articulating nursing values, for maintaining the integrity of the profession and its practices, and for shaping social policy. (June 30, 2001 American Nurses Association).

Guiding Principles of the MS Nurse

  1. MS nurses seek what is good for patients and families.

  2. The MS nurse recognizes that quality of life is defined by the person with MS.

  3. The MS nurse recognizes and respects the patient’s right to care regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, life-style, sexual orientation, economic status or level of disability.

  4. The MS nurse recognizes the patient’s right to MS specialist care.

  5. The MS nurse promotes impartial treatment.

  6. The MS nurse recognizes the patient’s right to treatment and therapies, including experimental treatments.

  7. The MS nurse recognizes the patient’s right to access of MS drugs.

  8. All patients have the right to be informed and understand advanced health care directives (living wills and durable power of attorney), concerning the right to receive resuscitation, refuse appropriate treatment, request do-not-resuscitate orders, or request the discontinuation of life support measures.

  9. The MS nurse is responsible for providing information to the MS patient and family in order to facilitate informed consent for all treatments and procedures.

  10. The MS nurse participates in research. The MS nurse is aware of the principles of informed consent, criteria for inclusion and exclusion in research protocols, the right of the individual to withdraw from a protocol at any time.

  11. The MS nurses recognize and maintain the patient’s privacy, assuring confidentiality, except, when there is a clear, serious and immediate danger to the patient or others.

  12. MS nurses have a moral obligation to offer access to care, cost containment, and quality care.

  13. MS patients have a right to be informed, without bias, coercion or deception about treatment options, potential effect and adverse effects of treatments.

  14. MS patients have a right to refuse treatment, continuing to receive alternative care.

  15. The MS patient has a right to his medical record (check out) and the right to have information explained.

  16. Decisions regarding care require participation of the MS patient in an ongoing partnership to develop an effective plan of care. This process considers diversity, individual autonomy and responsibility.

  17. MS nurses practice competently. They consult and refer when indicated by their professional judgment.

  18. MS nurses take appropriate action to protect patients from harm when endangered by incompetent or unethical clinical practice.

  19. MS nurses promote and support improved practice through professionalism, education, certification and nursing research.

  20. MS nurses promote local and national efforts to improve public education, legislation to ensure access to quality care and long term care initiatives that meets the health needs of MS patients and families.

  21. Decisions regarding care require patient participation in an ongoing partnership to develop a safe and effective plan of care that considers cultural diversity, individual autonomy and responsibilities.