Principles and Rules Important to Professional Practice

Principles and Rules Important to Professional Practice

Principles and Rules Important to Professional Practice

Principle of respect for autonomy: The duty to respect others’ personal liberty and individual values, beliefs, and choices

Principle-of nonmaleficence: The duty not to inflict harm or evil Principle of beneficence: The duty to do good and prevent or remove harm Principle of formal justice: The duty to treat equals equally and treat those who are unequal according to their needs

Rule of veracity: The duty to tell the truth and not to deceive others

Rule of fidelity: The duty to honor commitments

Rule of confidentiality: The duty not to disclose, information shared in ‘an intimate manner

Rule of privacy: The duty to respect limited access to a person

Adapted from Beauct1amp, T. L., & Childress, J. F. (2009). Principles of biomedical ethics (6th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.


The principles are binding and tolerant of the particularities of specific cases (Beauchamp & Childress). The principles of respect for persons, autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice are commonly applied in the analysis of ethical issues in nursing. The American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses (2001) has endorsed the principle of respect for persons and under- scores the profession’s commitment to serving individuals, families, and groups or communities. The emphasis on respect for persons throughout the code implies that it is not only a philosophical value of nursing, but also a binding principle within the profession.Advanced Practice Nurse Assignment Papers.

Although ethical principles and rules are the corner- stone of most ethical decisions, the principle-based approach has been criticized as being too formalistic for many clinicians and lacking in moral substance ( Gert, Culver, & Clouser, 2006). Other critics have argued that a principle-based approach conceals the particular person and relationships and reduces the resolution of a clinical case simply to balancing principles (Rushton & Penticuff, 2007). Because all the principles are considered of equal moral weight, this approach has been seen as inadequate to provide guidance for moral action ( Gett et al., 2006; Strong, 2007). In spite of these critiques, bioethical principles remain the most common ethical language used in clinical practice settings.