The recently posted OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Ethics column, Creating a Culture of Ethical Watchfulness
, by Jeanne Merkle Sorrell, PhD, RN, FAAN, considers the power that individual nurses have to keep patients safe. Much discussion in the 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, focused on the need for higher levels of education and training, interdisciplinary practice, and improved data collection and information infrastructure. There has been less emphasis on the recommendation that nurses should practice to the fullest extent of their present education and training. The IOM report identified barriers to meeting this goal. However, to ensure ethical practice, it is critical to focus not on what nurses cannot do, but what they can do to make a difference through monitoring, role modeling, and mentoring practices.
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