If you’re a nurse, you’ve probably had to make decisions based on your beliefs about whether something is right or wrong, safe or dangerous. This type of decision is based on an ethical behavior system. It is critical that all nurses develop and incorporate ethical values into their nursing practice. If this sounds familiar, you might be wondering, “What are common examples of ethical quandaries in nursing?” There are numerous situations in nursing that could be considered ethical quandaries, and it is critical for nurses to understand how to handle them when they arise. In this article, I will share the 20 most common examples of ethical quandaries in nursing and offer some advice on how to deal with them.
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What Is a Nursing Ethical Dilemma?
An ethical dilemma in nursing is a situation in which a nurse must choose between competing values while being aware that the decision will have consequences. Ethical quandaries may contradict the nurse’s personal values or the Code of Ethics for Nurses.
5 Major Reasons Nurses Face Ethical Issues in Nursing
When caring for patients, nurses frequently face ethical quandaries. Ethical quandaries can arise for a variety of reasons. The five main reasons why nurses face ethical quandaries in nursing are as follows.
1. Patients and their families must make life-or-death decisions.
2. The patient refuses treatment. 3. Nursing assignments may be in conflict with cultural or religious beliefs.
4. Nursing colleagues show incompetence
5. Inadequate manpower
How Do You Spot Ethical Issues in Nursing?
Nurses in all disciplines face ethical dilemmas on a regular basis. Consider how a situation makes you think and feel to best describe and identify an ethical dilemma in nursing. Ethical quandaries arise when two courses of action are both correct but represent opposing principles or values. The dilemma arises when doing something both right and wrong at the same time, and one of those actions has a negative impact on the other.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON ETHICAL DILEMMAS IN NURSING?
(Here are the 20 most common examples of ethical quandaries in nursing, along with advice on how to deal with each one.)
Exemplification #1: Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice
Samantha, a 28-year-old college student, is eighteen weeks pregnant. She has a history of cardiac disease, which has gotten worse as a result of the pregnancy. Samantha’s doctor is concerned that continuing the pregnancy will worsen her heart condition, potentially leading to a life-threatening emergency. He has advised that the pregnancy be terminated within the next two weeks. Samantha is hesitant, stating that, while she does not attend church, she was raised to believe abortion is wrong and that God will heal her. She is curious as to what the nurse would do in her situation. Nurse Jennifer opposes abortion under any circumstances.
Ethical quandary: Patients frequently seek advice from nurses about their health, wellness, and care decisions. In some cases, such as the one presented here, a patient’s personal morals and/or religious beliefs conflict with the medical necessity of a treatment or intervention. Patients frequently want someone to tell them which decision is the best. In situations like this, an ethical quandary in nursing can arise, especially if the nurse’s opinions differ from those of the patient or doctor.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: “Healthcare clients have the right to privacy and the right to make decisions about personal health care based on full information and without coercion,” according to the American Nurses Association Position Statement on Reproductive Health. In addition, nurses have the ethical right to refuse to participate in a specific case. If a client’s life is in danger, nurses are obligated to ensure the client’s safety and avoid abandonment.”
Although Nurse Jennifer opposes abortion, she should refrain from expressing her personal beliefs or opinions to the patient. Instead, the nurse should encourage the patient to seek advice from her significant other (if appropriate), family, spiritual advisor, or others in whom she feels she can confide. The nurse should schedule a follow-up visit with the physician to discuss options and decisions before the doctor’s two-week deadline for performing the procedure.
Example #2: Adolescent Privacy Rights Protection
Michael, a sixteen-year-old, has been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Although the doctor examined Michael privately and informed him of his diagnosis, Michael’s mother is in the waiting room and wishes to know what the doctor said. Michael informed the doctor and nurse that he does not want anyone, including his mother, to know about the STI.
Ethical Dilemma: One of the most common examples of an ethical dilemma in nursing occurs when nurses must decide whether or not to discuss a patient’s medical information with a parent or guardian. For many years, parents and guardians were granted access to any patient under the age of eighteen’s medical records. Every state now has laws in place that allow minors to consent to treatment under certain conditions without parental knowledge, consent, or access to their medical records.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: When an adolescent is old enough to give consent for healthcare in most states, information about that care is typically considered confidential. Violating a patient’s confidentiality can have serious consequences, such as losing a job or licensure. As a result, nurses must be aware of their state laws and work closely within those laws as well as with supervisors to adhere to their organization’s guidelines. If you are unsure, it is always appropriate to defer to your facility’s policies or to seek the intervention or guidance of a supervisor.
Exemplification #3: Empirical Knowledge vs. Religious Beliefs
Mr. Elliott is a 58-year-old male who arrived at the emergency department after being involved in a car accident. He has several injuries, and it has been determined that he is bleeding internally. The emergency physician has requested a surgery consultation. Mr. Elliott, on the other hand, consents to surgery if necessary. However, even if his life depends on it, he refuses to consent to a blood transfusion. Mr. Elliott refuses a blood transfusion because he is a Jehovah’s Witness and receiving a blood transfusion contradicts his religious beliefs.
Ethical Conundrum: It can be difficult to remain objective with patients, particularly in life-threatening situations. In nursing, an ethical quandary can arise when a patient’s wishes conflict with what is medically necessary to promote health or sustain life.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: A patient may refuse medical care or treatment if he is alert, oriented, and understands the consequences of accepting or rejecting it. Although it is natural for nurses to want to promote any life-saving measures, they must learn to distinguish between providing accurate information and pushing their own opinions or beliefs. Any education provided and the patient’s response, including his reason for declining treatment, should be documented by the nurse. Proper documentation will shield the nurse and the healthcare facility from legal consequences if the client or his family later believes treatment should have been provided.
Example #4: A parent refuses to vaccinate his or her child.
Mr. Black is the father and sole guardian of five-year-old twins who are about to begin kindergarten. Mr. Black never had his children vaccinated, and states requiring him to do so is a violation of his and his children’s rights.
Ethical Conundrum: In order to protect the health of populations and communities, the healthcare industry advocates for disease vaccination. Nurses may feel compelled to choose between being proactive about vaccines and respecting the patient’s or guardian’s right to choose which treatment to accept.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Vaccination laws are generally based on CDC recommendations. For children entering elementary, secondary, or post-secondary schools and daycares, each state requires an up-to-date immunization record. While some states allow vaccine exemptions in certain circumstances, it is not the nurse’s responsibility to enforce vaccine administration or withholding. Instead, the nurse’s job is to provide enough information to the parent so that they can make an informed decision about the vaccine’s safety and any potential risks. If a parent refuses to vaccinate their child, the nurse should have them sign a declination form and document any education they receive.
Example #5: Social Media Personal and Professional Boundaries
Nurse Madison works on a busy pediatric ward and enjoys her job. Recently, the mother of one of her patients sent her a social media friend request and left a comment on Nurse Madison’s public wall inquiring about a patient in the room next to her son’s. According to the post, “Hello, Maddie! Gavin, how are you? We haven’t seen him since Austin was released from the hospital.”
Ethical Conundrum: We live in a world where technology is at our fingertips. There is nothing wrong with using technology such as social media platforms when done correctly. It is critical for nurses to understand the distinction between personal and professional relationships or acquaintances and to avoid blurring or crossing those lines.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: All nurses are responsible for ensuring patient privacy and confidentiality. When a patient is discharged from care, that responsibility does not end. In this case, Nurse Madison should decline the friend request from the mother of her former patient. If Nurse Madison and the mother form a friendship that extends beyond her son’s care and a social media connection is formed, Nurse Madison must be held accountable for anything posted on her public wall or shared with anyone. She must also be proactive, removing any communication that is visible to the public and informing her friend that she must always maintain patient confidentiality.
Example #6: The nurse is instructed to have a patient with limited literacy sign consent for treatment.
Scenario: The attending physician instructs Nurse Gloria to have Mr. Isaacs sign a consent form prior to a scheduled colonoscopy. While going over the form with the patient, Nurse Gloria notices that he appears confused and is unsure where or how to sign the paperwork.
Ethical Conundrum: It is common for nurses to obtain signatures on consent forms, especially for procedures such as the one described in this scenario. When confronted with a situation such as this one, where the nurse is unsure whether the patient understands what he is being told or if he can read, the decision of whether to delay a busy schedule to have the doctor come back and talk to the patient or explain to the best of her ability and obtain the patient’s signature may appear difficult.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Most patients find the language used in healthcare and on healthcare documents to be confusing. It can be even more difficult for patients who are illiterate. Nonetheless, all patients have the right to be fully informed and understand treatment options and procedures before receiving them. It is ALWAYS better to err on the side of caution when dealing with a vulnerable patient. The nurse should provide information in a way that the patient understands, allowing him to ask questions and refuse treatment. If the patient does not fully comprehend what the nurse is saying, the nurse should notify the doctor and request that he explain the procedure, including expected outcomes and risks, once more.
Example #7: Making End-of-Life Decisions
Mrs. Douglas has advanced lung cancer that has spread throughout her body. Her doctor has advised her on treatment options that could extend her life by six months to a year. Mrs. Douglas, however, has chosen only comfort measures, much to the chagrin of her family. Mrs. Douglas has completed an Advanced Directive, which includes signing a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate).
Decisions about end-of-life care are just one example of an ethical quandary in nursing. When trying to comfort loved ones while honoring patient wishes, nurses can easily become overwhelmed.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: During end-of-life transitions, nurses are invaluable resources for patients and their loved ones. Mrs. Douglas has the right to choose whether or not to receive treatment if she is of sound mind and understands her prognosis with and without treatment. Regardless of how difficult the situation is, the nurse’s primary responsibility is to her patient. Nurses must advocate for patients’ autonomy and rights. Because the patient in this scenario prepared an Advance Directive, it may be easier to carry out her wishes.
Example #8: Insufficient Care Resources
Nurse Judy works as a wound care nurse for a home health agency. She went to the office to get more wound care supplies for her weekend visits. The charge nurse, on the other hand, informed her that the wound care supplies delivery had not arrived. As a result, there aren’t enough supplies on hand for Nurse Judy’s scheduled visits.
Ethical Dilemma: Nurses may be faced with situations in which they must determine which patients require more supplies or treatment than others. While this is not an ideal situation, it occurs more frequently than most people would like to admit.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: In this situation, the nurse must use her triage skills to determine which patients, if any, can safely have their orders changed or amended. The nurse should go over the nurses’ notes and get a report from the most recent person who saw the clients for whom she is scheduled to provide weekend care. If a patient’s wound is healing or improving, she should notify the nurse supervisor, primary care provider, or physician on call to see if orders can be changed. This allows the nurse to have enough supplies to care for patients who require wound care services until supplies are delivered.
Example #9: To Date or Not to Date Former Patients?
Scenario: Wesley is a patient at Nurse Sabrina’s local outpatient clinic. After nearly a year of being a patient at the clinic, Wesley told Sabrina he thought she was very pretty and invited her to dinner.
Patients entrust nurses with some of their most sensitive information, posing an ethical quandary. While this trust is beneficial and places nurses in unique positions to help patients, it can lead to an ethical quandary in nursing if the nurse does not keep relationships professional.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Nurses and patients are protected by professional boundaries. Nurses must recognize warning signs that could lead to boundary violations before things get out of hand. Nurses should avoid making and receiving personal phone calls to and from patients after hours, as well as giving and receiving gifts, flirting, keeping secrets, and becoming overly involved in a patient’s business or personal affairs.
Exemplification #10: Informed Consent
Mr. Thomas, 68, is a man with a history of diabetes and peripheral hypertension. Mr. Thomas developed ulcers on his right heel as a result of vascular changes and uncontrolled blood sugar. After unsuccessful wound treatment, Mr. Thomas’ physician suggests amputation as the next step. Mr. Thomas agrees with the doctor, but not his wife. Mrs. Thomas expresses to the nurse her concern that her husband is being duped into having his foot amputated because the doctor is tired of treating the wounds.
The concept of informed consent is a common ethical quandary in nursing. The process by which a patient or their designated representative grants healthcare providers permission to administer treatments or perform procedures is known as informed consent to treatment. Informed consent requires healthcare providers to inform patients about the potential risks and benefits of proposed treatments, as well as any alternative treatment options.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Patients and their loved ones frequently confide in nurses or ask questions of nurses before speaking with doctors, especially when they are worried or stressed. Mrs. Thomas appears to be more at ease speaking with the nurse in this scenario. It is critical that the nurse attempts to understand Mrs. Thomas’ concerns and comfort her. Furthermore, the nurse must notify the charge nurse and the physician about Mrs. Thomas’ statements and concerns. While Mr. Thomas has the final say on treatment, his wife’s concerns should not be dismissed.
Inadequate Staffing is an example of insufficient staffing.
Scenario: Nurse Cathy is on the Medical-Surgical ward for the evening shift. The hospital has protocols in place that state that nurse-patient ratios should not exceed six patients per nurse. There are 23 patients on the Med-Surg floor. One nurse called in, leaving three nurses to care for the patients.
Nurses have an ethical obligation to promote patient safety. An ethical quandary in nursing occurs when nurses are faced with more patients than they can safely care for, putting both patients and staff at risk.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Staff shortages can be unexpected or unavoidable at times. The charge nurse or director of nursing is responsible for implementing efforts to keep the nurse-to-patient ratio within facility guidelines. Nurses, on the other hand, should never leave their jobs because of a disproportionate nurse-patient ratio. When nurses encounter insufficient staffing issues, they must immediately notify the supervising nurse. The nurse should then prioritize care based on the needs or status of the patient.
Exemplification No. 12: Spirituality vs. Science
Mr. Jenkins has spent ten days in the intensive care unit. He was initially admitted to the emergency room for an unknown cause elevated temperature and suspected sepsis. Mr. Jenkins had a perforated bowel, which resulted in full-body sepsis, according to diagnostic testing. He has had two strokes in the last twelve hours, has become unresponsive, and has no Advance Directive. Mr. Jenkins’ children say they are “clinging to the hope that God will bring him through.” Despite the doctor’s efforts to explain the gravity of the situation and to prepare the children for the worst, they insist on using all possible life-saving measures.
Ethical Conundrum: Health and nursing care are results-driven and scientifically based. The science underlying patient care may run counter to personal or religious beliefs. Nurses may be dissatisfied because the science they know is insufficient to save their patients. Nurses may feel helpless when families find it difficult to accept a poor prognosis for a loved one and instead cling to religious beliefs.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: According to the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics, nurses must recognize and respect patients’ “unique differences, including lifestyle, value system, and religious beliefs.” However, the Code also states respect for the patient’s belief “does not imply that the nurse condones those beliefs or practices on a personal level.” Many patients report less stress when they rely on their faith during medical challenges. Nurses must be aware of their patients’ spiritual and religious needs. Although the nurse accepts the science behind the patient’s diagnosis and expected outcome in this scenario, her job is to respect and support the family’s decisions.
Example #13: Prescription Pain Medication Addiction
Mr. Jones, 34, is brought to the emergency department after being involved in a car accident. He is well-known to the ER staff, having previously been admitted for drug abuse complications on multiple occasions. Mr. Jones complains of “extreme pain” while waiting for x-rays of his broken left leg and requests pain medication. Mr. Jones is a “addict with a preference for pain medications,” so the emergency physician will not write an order for pain medication.
Ethical Dilemma: Nurses are frequently faced with the dilemma of whether they should blindly follow a physician’s order or seek intervention from supervisors or administrators. Going up the chain of command may expose the nurse to professional repercussions and accusations of insubordination. Inaction on the nurse’s part, on the other hand, means that the patient’s complaints of pain will be ignored because he is an addict.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Advocating for a patient’s needs is always appropriate. If, despite the patient’s request and the nurse’s assessment of pain, the physician refuses to provide pain management options, the nurse should report to a supervisor.
Example 14: Duty and compassion are incompatible with facility safety protocols.
Scenario: Nurse Jordan worked in a crowded COVID-19 unit, caring for Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller and his family, who were not permitted to visit, were promised by Nurse Jordan that he would not die alone. The hospital implemented policies to protect nurses and other hospital personnel from prolonged COVID exposure. Nurse Jordan’s supervisor instructed her to leave the room after she had been at Mr. Miller’s bedside for an extended period of time.
Ethical Dilemma: As patient advocates and bedside caregivers, nurses frequently face ethical quandaries, particularly when it comes to being present for pivotal moments in a patient’s life. In this scenario, Nurse Jordan faced an ethical quandary because her sense of duty and compassion for her patient did not align with the hospital’s safety protocols designed to protect nurses.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Following protocols can be difficult, especially when you believe your patient requires your presence at their bedside. While the nurse understandably wanted to reassure the patient and his family that he would not be left alone, she should not have made a promise she did not know she could keep. If a situation arises in which compassion and duty do not align with a facility protocol, the nurse should immediately contact the charge nurse and explain the situation, as well as request advice or intervention. In this case, the charge nurse might not have allowed Nurse Jordan to stay in the room, but she could have sent another nurse instead.
Example #15: The patient lacks an advance directive.
Mrs. Wilhite is a 74-year-old woman who has Stage IV breast cancer that has spread to her lungs. Mrs. Wilhite spoke with the nurse and expressed her desire to avoid life-saving measures, but she does not have an Advanced Directive in place. Mrs. Wilhite’s cognitive function has deteriorated significantly, and she is currently unable to make decisions about her care. Her children are unable to agree on the best course of treatment or life-saving measures.
Ethical Dilemma: Regrettably, this is a common ethical quandary in nursing. When patients lack an advance directive, nurses may find themselves torn between listening to well-meaning loved ones and doing what the patient requests. Although the patient expressed a desire to withhold treatments or life-saving efforts, the family may want staff to exhaust all efforts to save their family member.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Nurses should encourage every patient to create an Advanced Directive whenever possible. When patients have an Advanced Directive in place, healthcare providers know what the patient wants if they become unresponsive and require interventions to keep them alive. It also relieves family members of the burden of making difficult decisions, which is important because loved ones may be influenced by emotions. In the absence of an Advanced Directive, state laws provide for authority to be delegated to parents, guardians, a spouse, or another person. Hospitals also have ethics committees that step in when a patient does not have an Advanced Directive or a family member to whom authority can be delegated.
Example #16: Nursing Peers’ Incompetence
Scenario: Nurse Micah works alongside Nurse Saundra on the cardiac unit, caring for patients. Today, one of Nurse Micah’s patients had a blood pressure spike that was above the safe protocol ranges. Nurse Micah neglected to report the change in blood pressure to the physician because he was preoccupied with another patient. He did not document the incident because the patient’s blood pressure had returned to normal. He told Nurse Saundra about the patient’s blood pressure and how he didn’t document or report the change to the doctor.
While no nurse wants to believe a fellow nurse is incompetent to provide care, issues of incompetence are real and can create ethical dilemmas in nursing. Nurses frequently form close relationships with their colleagues, making the decision to report errors or omissions difficult. However, all nurses’ primary responsibility is to provide safe, competent nursing care to all patients.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: It is never acceptable to avoid responsibilities, such as documenting changes in patient status or reporting to physicians when necessary. Nurse Saundra’s first response should be to encourage Nurse Micah to document the patient’s vital signs change and report the spike and return to normal to the physician. If Nurse Saundra is unsure whether Nurse Micah documented and reported the patient’s change, or if she is uncomfortable with the situation, she should notify her charge nurse. As always, all nurses should prioritize the safety and well-being of their patients.
Example #17: Communicating the Severity of Medical Conditions
Mr. Morris is in the final stages of renal failure. Despite efforts to manage the disease, such as dialysis three times a week, his condition has deteriorated. Mr. Morris’s physician has noticed a decline in his condition and has informed the family that he may only have a few weeks to live. Mrs. Morris and their children are hesitant to tell Mr. Morris about his condition, and the doctor has made no attempt to speak with him about it. After his family had left the hospital for the evening, Mr. Morris summoned the nurse and asked her to tell him what the doctor had said, claiming that he was not getting the full picture.
The decision to disclose the seriousness of a patient’s condition is not a new ethical quandary in nursing. For many years, physicians were regarded as the decision-makers for their patients, deciding whether to withhold information based on whether it would cause undue stress or more harm than good. In recent years, it has become the norm to believe that patients have a right to know the truth about their diagnosis and prognosis. Unfortunately, nurses often find themselves caught somewhere between telling the patient news that could cause greater distress or using blanket answers to help decrease anxiety.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: The bottom line and most important thing for nurses to remember is patients have a right to know about their own diagnosis and potential outcome of treatment or lack thereof. The physician is initially responsible for notifying the patient of his diagnosis. However, nurses typically have more face-to-face encounters with patients and are often the ones the patients look to for clarification. It is best to answer questions as carefully and thoroughly as possible. If you are unsure of the appropriate answer, defer the question to your supervisor or the patient’s physician.
Example #18: Questioning Physician Orders
Scenario: Mr. Wesley has been diagnosed with intestinal amebiasis, for which the doctor has prescribed Tinidazole 2 grams once daily for five days. Nurse Lin notes Mr. Wesley’s chart says he is allergic to Flagyl and knows Tinidazole is contraindicated in patients with a Flagyl allergy.
Ethical Dilemma: Some of the most common examples of ethical dilemmas in nursing occur because of inappropriate or questionable medication orders. As nursing students begin to learn about medication and administration of drug therapy, they must learn the “Five Rights of Medication Use” which are the right patient, right drug, right time, right dose, and right route. While nurses should not randomly choose which physician’s orders to follow and which to disregard, it is the nurse’s responsibility to provide safe patient care, which includes verifying questionable orders.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Nurse Lin should immediately verify with Mr. Wesley what medication allergies he has and ask what his reaction to that medication is. Once the Flagyl allergy is confirmed, Nurse Lin should notify the doctor and ask for an alternative option for the patient. In most cases, physicians will change the order when a medication is contraindicated. However, if the physician refuses to change the order, the nurse should notify the nursing supervisor immediately. Nurse Lin should also advise Mr. Wesley that she is verifying the physician’s order because of his drug allergy and ask him to wait until the order is confirmed or changed before filling the medication and taking it.
Example #19: Asked to Work in a Department Without Training
Scenario: Charge Nurse Hale assigned Nurse Mary to work on the post-partum floor due to a shortage of nursing staff there. One of the patients has requested assistance with breastfeeding stating her baby is not latching on. Nurse Mary has been a nurse for one year but has never worked with post-partum patients. She has voiced concern that she has no experience working with newborns or post-partum mothers.
Ethical Dilemma: It is not uncommon for nurses to float from one department to another during their shifts and throughout the course of their careers. While there is nothing wrong with assigning nurses to different departments, as needed, an ethical dilemma in nursing can occur if the nurse finds herself asked to provide care she has never performed.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: It is vital for nurses to understand that clinical experiences in nursing school are broad and may not offer in-depth training in specific areas. This scenario is one example of a nurse graduating nursing school and becoming licensed but not having experience in an area (post-partum care) (post-partum care). The appropriate nursing response is for Nurse Mary to tell Charge Nurse Hale she has not had the opportunity to learn first-hand about teaching breastfeeding techniques and ask for guidance. In an ideal situation, the charge nurse should accompany Nurse Mary to the patient’s room and offer instruction to both Nurse Mary and the patient. If the charge nurse refuses to assist Nurse Mary or to assign an experienced nurse to help, it may be appropriate for Nurse Mary to report to the next person in the chain of command.
Example #20: Beneficence vs. Autonomy
Scenario: Mr. Simms was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago. After chemotherapy, he experienced a brief remission but recently learned the cancer has recurred. Mr. Simms’s doctor advised him and his family that treatment will likely be unsuccessful and, although it may offer a few more months of life, Mr. Simms’s quality of life will rapidly deteriorate. The doctor recommends hospice at home with comfort measures only, including oxygen and opioid pain relievers. Despite symptoms of pain, such as grimacing and crying, Mr. Simms refuses pain medication, stating he does not want to experience the effects of feeling sleepy and missing precious time with his family. His wife is distraught and asks the nurse if there is a way to administer pain medication without her husband knowing.
Ethical Dilemma: Beneficence describes the obligation of nurses to act for the benefit of patients, supporting moral values to protect patient rights, prevent harm, and remove conditions that could cause harm. Autonomy, on the other hand, is an act that is governed or allowed by the patient without interference or persuasion from medical or nursing personnel. Nurses who practice beneficence without respect for the patient’s autonomy may end up performing acts that do not benefit the patient.
How to Solve This Ethical Problem: Although the nurse may have good intentions, the patient’s right to autonomy must be weighed against what the nurse feels is appropriate. If Mr. Simms can make independent decisions with a clear understanding of their consequences, the nurse must honor his wishes. The nurse should explain to Mrs. Simms that she understands her concern and desire for her husband to be pain-free, but also explain that the nurse is obligated by law and the nurse’s Code of Ethics to allow Mr. Simms to make decisions for himself. If Mr. Simms does not have an Advance Directive, it is also appropriate for the nurse to recommend establishing one while he can still do so.
4 Consequences Of Avoiding Ethical Dilemmas In Nursing
Nurses in every specialty and type of nursing facility face ethical dilemmas. It is necessary for nurses to recognize when an ethical dilemma in nursing occurs and learn how to reconcile their own beliefs and values against those dilemmas. Avoiding ethical dilemmas, like the examples of ethical dilemmas in nursing featured in this article, can have negative consequences. The following are a few examples of the consequences of failure to address ethical dilemmas in nursing.
1. Nurses can quickly experience burnout. Ethical dilemmas create a lot of stress. When faced with these dilemmas, it is important for nurses to acknowledge the problem and address them as soon as possible. Failure to do so can lead to greater stress, leading to nursing burnout.
2. Avoiding ethical dilemmas in nursing can lead to legal issues. Some ethical dilemmas can have serious legal ramifications. It is never a good idea to ignore an ethical dilemma. Instead, the issue should be addressed with the appropriate person, including supervisors, and handled correctly to avoid legal issues.
3. Nurses who avoid ethical dilemmas could lose their jobs. Depending on the situation, failure to address an ethical dilemma in nursing could result in consequences such as a reprimand from management or loss of a job.
4. Loss of licensure: There are some ethical dilemmas in nursing that have severe consequences when avoided. When this occurs, the nurse could lose their license to practice. As a rule of thumb, it is always best to acknowledge dilemmas and seek help from leaders to help deal with them before your job or license is on the line.
My Final Thoughts
Any nurse who has worked in the field long enough will face ethical dilemmas at some time. Perhaps you have experienced ethical dilemmas or asked, “What are the common examples of ethical dilemmas in nursing?” The 20 most common examples of ethical dilemmas in nursing featured in this article are examples of the types of situations nurses face. While it is impossible to avoid every ethical dilemma, nurses can equip themselves with the knowledge necessary to help them address and overcome issues in a professional manner while promoting high-quality, safe, and effective patient care.
me>Nursing homework help
Should children be revealed the truth that they are dying? Argue the pros and the cons
what are the possible outcomes both pro and against
What should be done to resolve the Dilemma