1. a branch of philosophy dealing with values pertaining to human conduct, considering the rightness and wrongness of actions and the goodness or badness of the motives and ends of such actions.
2. systematic rules or principles governing right conduct. Each practitioner, upon entering a profession, is invested with the responsibility to adhere to the standards of ethical practice and conduct set by the profession. adj., adj eth´ical.
descriptive ethics a type of nonnormative ethics that simply reports what people believe, how they reason, and how they act.
medical ethics the values and guidelines governing decisions in medical practice.
nonnormative ethics ethics whose objective is to establish what factually or conceptually is the case, not what ethically ought to be the case. Two types are descriptive ethics and metaethics.
normative ethics an approach to ethics that works from standards of right or good action. There are three types of normative theories: virtue theories, deontological theories, and teleological theories.
nursing ethics the values and ethical principles governing nursing practice, conduct, and relationships. The Code for Nurses, adopted by the American Nurses' Association (ANA) in 1950 and revised periodically, is intended to provide definite standards of practice and conduct that are essential to the ethical discharge of the nurse's responsibility. Further information on the Code, interpretative statements that clarify it, and guidance in implementing it in specific situations can be obtained from committees and councils on nursing practice of State Nurses' Associations or from the ANA Nursing Practice Department.
practical ethics the attempt to work out the implications of general theories for specific forms of conduct and moral judgment; formerly called applied ethics.
professional ethics the ethical norms, values, and principles that guide a profession and the ethics of decisions made within the profession.