Ethical practice in the nursing profession: A normative analysis

J M Mathibe-Neke




In response to an increasing number of litigations relating to nursing care errors, negligence or acts and omissions that arise mostly due to unprofessional or unethical behaviour compounded by the growing awareness of patient’s rights, nurse practitioners as such need an intervention by the regulatory body, the South African Nursing Council (SANC).

Aim and purpose

The argument presented pertains to the obligatory role of SANC as a regulatory body to uphold professional and ethical practice for nurses in terms of the nursing curriculum, the scope of practice, the code of ethics and continuing professional development.


The methodology was based on the analysis of relevant SANC legislation under the provision of the Nursing Act 33 of 2005 as amended.

Document review, a technique used to “categorise, investigate, interpret and identify limitations of written documents” was undertaken. The study referenced some of the general literature relating to nursing ethics and professionalism. A waiver for ethical clearance was obtained from the Human Research Ethics Committee.


The overall impact of the analysis lies in its contribution to enhancing nursing practice, with specific focus on upholding professional and ethical practice. SANC as a custodian of the nursing profession need to address limitations and develop a balance for the regulation and monitoring of ethical practice in both nursing education and clinical practice.


Keywords: ethical practice; normative analysis; nursing profession; role; South African Nursing Council

Author's affiliations

J M Mathibe-Neke, UNISA

Full Text

PDF (93KB)

Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2020;13(1):52-56. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.2020.v13i1.00690

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-07-07
Date published: 2020-07-07

Article Views

Abstract views: 7631
Full text views: 4761

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here