Sample Nursing Paper on Autonomy in Nursing Care



This study focuses on the ethical principle of autonomy in nursing care. The study will address ethical principle, ethics, nursing care, and the relationship between autonomy and nursing care. Autonomy is highly significant in nursing care. The objective of this study is to review autonomy as a concept in nursing care.

Literature review

Autonomy refers to the personal authority over the self (American Nurses Association, 34). Autonomy is free from other peoples’ interferences and individual limitations. Autonomy is therefore closely related to personal choice. Persons who are free have understanding of the intentional actions they undertake. Among the considerable clinical ethics lies the principle for autonomy. Medical practitioners have the role of creating conditions sufficient for others to exercise autonomy. Respect for autonomy therefore refers to the right of a person for self-determination (Brennan, Carr, & Cousins, 205). Respect for autonomy also refers to the formation of conditions by the practitioners for autonomous choice. Patients cannot have the liberty of choosing for themselves the best (Brennan, Carr, & Cousins, 205). They consult the medical practitioners as they lack the required information of making informed decisions. Practitioners therefore have the role of educating their patients on the situations prevailing. In nursing care, the medical practitioners are expected to control the fears in patients and manage their motions. This further assists the patients come to terms with their realities and make informed decisions (DuPree et al, 345).

Ethical principle dictates that the medical practitioners exercise confidentiality at all times (American Nurses Association, 2). Autonomy on the other hand incorporates confidentiality in the patients’ information on their condition. Autonomy therefore dictates that the medical practitioner inform the patient of all the options available for treatment of the condition. The physician is expected to outline the risks involved and allow the patient to make the decisions (Rahmani, 14). Consequently, a patient has the self-sufficiency of choosing the preferred treatment in spite of the capacity and age. This policy further facilitates patients to take pleasure in respect despite the decisions made (Berhofer, 126). The patient, through the policy of autonomy can understand the number of times medication is to be given while they are still admitted at the hospital. Patients have the right to refuse or agree to any medication prescribed. Medical practitioners have the role of offering information on the prescribed medications, and their effects to the patients. These benefits impose enhanced choice of treatment for the patient.

Ethics in the nursing prevents practitioners from becoming bias. Hence, right decisions are made in a practical manner. Therefore, autonomy and ethics both prohibit the medical professionals from being bias. Both of these therefore ensure that right decisions are made unbiased. Ethical principality and autonomy are practical and an integral approach of managing the patients (Evans, 34). Through the ethical principality, nursing culture is developed and practiced. The ethics assists medical professionals to see their own biases and allow the patients to enjoy their autonomy. The ethical policies guide the nurses in promoting the needs of the patients when talking to other medical professionals.


Autonomy is highly significant in nursing care. Autonomy assists the nurses to manage patients without bias. This is among the principles in nursing management. Autonomy is good in that it enables the physician define for the patients the right kind of treatment they are to acquire and any side effect of the treatment. Ethics nurture nursing culture, which emphasizes that nurses are to respect the choice of the patients regardless of their stand. Ethics also enables the nurses in advocating for the rights of the patients in the presence of other medical practitioners (Berhofer, 126)


Works Cited

American Nurses Association. Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. 2001. Retrieved July 22, 2011 from

Bernhofer, Edwards, “Ethics and pain management in hospitalized patients.” The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. 2011.17(1): 122-134. DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol17No01EthCol01

Brennan, F. Carr, & Cousins, Midfiguet. “ Pain Management: A Fundamental Human Right.” Pain Medicine. 2007. 105(1): 205-221. doi: 10.1213/01. ane.0000268145.52345.55

DuPree, E. Martin, Anderson, Kathuria, Reich, D. Porter, & Chassin, Malek. “Improving Patient Satisfaction with Pain Management using Six Sigma Tools.” Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2009. Vol 35, Issue 7. Pages 343-350.

Evans, Joel. “A Sociological Account of the Growth of Principlism.” The Hastings Center Report. 2000. Vol. 30. Issue 5. Pages 31-38.

Rahmani, Azad. “Respecting to Patient’s Autonomy in Viewpoint of Nurses and Patients in Medical Surgical Wards.” Ran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010. Vol. 5. Issue 1. Pages 14–19. PMCID: PMC3093030

Samuels, Jimnam. The Application of High-Reliability Theory to Promote Pain Management.” Journal of Nursing Administration. 2010. Vol. 40. Issue 11. Pages 471-476.