Ethical dilemmas in nursing - TopNursingPapers (2023)

A comprehensive look at ethical dilemmas in nursing

What is an ethical dilemma in nursing?

An ethical dilemma in nursing is a circumstance in which a nurse must choose between opposing ideals, knowing that the choice will have repercussions. Ethical dilemmas may conflict with the nurse's personal beliefsCode of Ethics for Nurses.

The top 5 root causes of ethical dilemmas in nursing that nurses deal with every day

When caring for patients, nurses often face moral challenges. Several factors can come together to create a complicated moral situation. Here we discuss the five most common sources of ethical challenges in nursing.

  1. First of all, patients or their loved ones have to choose between life and death.
  2. The patient refuses treatment.
  3. Cultural and religious values ​​can conflict with caregiving responsibilities.
  4. Incompetence among nursing peers.
  5. too few nurses

Also read thoseThe top 5 problems nurses face in their careers.This is also related to thatEthical issues in nursing

Examples of ethical dilemmas in nursing

Here are some examples of ethical dilemmas nurses and other healthcare professionals may face:

  1. Confidentiality: A patient discloses confidential information to healthcare professionals, but the healthcare professional believes the information could harm the patient or others. Healthcare professionals must balance the duty to protect patient confidentiality against the potential risk of harm and decide whether or not to violate confidentiality.
  2. Informed Consent: A patient refuses treatment that healthcare professionals believe is necessary to save their life. Healthcare professionals must respect patient autonomy and the right to refuse treatment while balancing the duty to promote the patient's well-being.
  3. End of Life Care: A patient's family disagrees about the course of treatment for a terminally ill patient. Healthcare professionals must consider the patient's wishes, family concerns and patientsprinciples of legal ethicsinvolved in end-of-life care to make a decision that is in the best interests of the patient.
  4. Resource Allocation: A hospital has limited resources and two patients require life-saving treatment. Healthcare professionals must decide which patient to prioritize based on their clinical needs, resource availability, and the ethics involved.
  5. Cultural and Religious Beliefs: A patient's cultural or religious beliefs conflict with the treatment plan recommended by healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals must respect the patient's beliefs and work with them to identify an alternative plan that is consistent with the patient's values ​​while promoting their health.

In short, ethical dilemmas arise in healthcare when there is a conflict between patient values, healthcare professional responsibilities, and the ethical principles involved. Nurses and other health professionals must carefully evaluate the situation, identify the ethical principles involved, and make a decision that respects the principles of patient autonomy, charity, non-maleficence, justice, fidelity, and truthfulness.

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Ethics and decision-making in nursing.

Ethics and decision-making are critical components of nursing practice. Nurses often face ethical dilemmas that force them to make decisions that are in the best interests of their patients while respecting their autonomy and values. Here are some important considerations for ethical decision-making in nursing:

  1. Assess the situation: Nurses must first assess the situation to identify the problem or ethical dilemma. You should consider all available information, including the patient's medical history, cultural background, and preferences, as well as any legal or institutional requirements.
  2. Identify the ethical principles involved: The caregiver must identify the ethical principles at play in the situation, such as autonomy, charity, non-maleficence, justice, faithfulness and truthfulness.
  3. Explore options: Caregivers should explore different options and consider the possible consequences of each option. You must weigh the risks and benefits of each option and determine which option best aligns with the ethics involved.
  4. Make a Decision: Caregivers must make a decision based on the information gathered, the ethics involved, and the potential consequences of each option. They must respect the patient's autonomy and values ​​while promoting their well-being.
  5. Take Action: Once a decision is made, caregivers need to take action and implement the plan. You must communicate the decision to the patient and other healthcare team members and monitor the situation to ensure the plan is effective.
  6. Reflect on the decision: Caregivers need to reflect on their decision-making process and the outcome of the situation. You need to recognize what worked well and what could be improved for future ethical dilemmas.

In summary, ethical decision-making is a critical component of nursing practice. Nurses need to assess the situation, identify the ethical principles involved, consider options, make a decision, act, and reflect on the decision. By following these steps, caregivers can promote ethical and effective patient care while respecting patient autonomy and values.

Examples of case studies on ethical dilemmas

Case Study 1: Informed Consent

A patient with a mental history was hospitalized with major depression. The patient refuses to take medication and undergo medical intervention. The healthcare team is concerned about the patient's well-being and is considering a coercive obligation to ensure the patient is treated. However, this would mean violating the patient's autonomy and informed consent.

Ethical principles involved: autonomy, informed consent,charity, no malice

Possible Solutions: The healthcare team may attempt to work with the patient to discuss their concerns and reasons for refusing treatment. You can also involve the patient's family and other support systems to persuade the patient to seek treatment. However, if the patient's condition worsens and becomes a danger to themselves or others, compulsory hospitalization may be necessary to prevent harm.

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Case study 2: End of life care

A patient with advanced cancer is terminally ill and has expressed a desire for physician-assisted suicide. The healthcare team is at odds over whether to honor the patient's request as it goes against their values ​​and beliefs.

Ethical principles involved: autonomy, charity,no nausea, Justice

Possible Solutions: The healthcare team could explore alternative options such as hospice or palliative care to provide patient comfort and pain control. They may also involve the patient's family and other support systems to provide emotional support. However, if the patient's suffering is unbearable, the healthcare team may need to respect the patient's autonomy and offer physician-assisted suicide as an option.

Case Study 3: Confidentiality

One patient tested positive for a sexually transmitted infection but asked the healthcare provider to keep the information confidential. The healthcare provider is concerned that the patient's partner may also be at risk.

Ethical Principles Involved: Autonomy, Confidentiality, Charity, Non-Maleficent

Possible solutions: The healthcare provider could try to educate the patient about the risks of not disclosing the information to their partner and encourage them to do so. They could also offer to anonymously notify the patient's partner, or offer advice and support to both the patient and their partner. However, if the patient continues to refuse to disclose the information, the healthcare provider may need to weigh the risks of harming the patient and their partner and consider breaking confidentiality.

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6 Ethical principles used in decision-making

There are several ethical principles that are commonly used as a guideDecision making in ethical dilemmas. These include:

  1. Autonomy: This principle recognizes that people have the right to make their own decisions and that their decisions will be respected. In healthcare, this means that patients have the right to be informed about their treatment options and to make decisions about their treatment.
  2. Charity: This principle requires healthcare providers to act in the best interests of their patients and promote their well-being. It also requires that they prevent harm and weigh the risks and benefits of each intervention.
  3. Doing harm: This principle requires healthcare providers to avoid harming their patients. It also recognizes that some interventions can have unintended negative consequences and that healthcare providers must weigh the risks and benefits of each intervention.
  4. Equity: This principle requires that health resources be distributed fairly and similar cases treated equally. It also recognizes the importance of treating people with equal dignity and respect.
  5. Faithfulness: This principle recognizes the importance of keeping promises and being trustworthy. In healthcare, this means that healthcare providers must be honest with their patients and honor their commitments.
  6. Truthfulness: This principle requires healthcare providers to be truthful and honest in their interactions with patients. This includes presenting risks and benefits transparently and disclosing conflicts of interest.

Also read:Application of the four ethical principlesProbe

When faced with an ethical dilemma, it is important to consider these principles and weigh the conflicting values, principles, or obligations. Ultimately, the decision must be based on the patient's best interests while respecting their autonomy and dignity.

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Rechtsethisches Dilemma Advanced Practice Nursing

A common ethical-legal dilemma faced by nurses in advanced practices is maintaining patient confidentiality while ensuring that patient care is optimized. Nurses in advanced practices often have access to confidential information about their patients and are subject to ethical and legal obligations to maintain patient confidentiality.

However, there are situations where a caregiver may be required to disclose sensitive information, such as when the patient poses a danger to themselves or others. In such cases, the caregiver may face the dilemma of revealing confidential information or causing harm to the patient or others.

Another ethical-legal dilemma faced by advanced caregivers is thisSubject consent form. Nursing staff are responsible for ensuring that patients are fully informed about their treatment options and the potential risks and benefits of each option. However, there may be situations where patients are unable to provide informed consent, e.g. B. in emergency situations or in cases in which the patient is not competent.

In such cases, the nurse may need to make decisions on behalf of the patient, such as B. Providing life-sustaining treatment. This can be a challenging ethical-legal dilemma as the caregiver must balance responsibility with the patient.Autonomyand right to self-determination with their duty to act in the best interests of the patient.

Other legal-ethical dilemmas faced by advanced practice nurses are issues related to end-of-life care, conflicts of interest, and cultural competence. is important forAdvanced practical nursesBe aware of these dilemmas and have a clear understanding of your ethical and legal obligations to ensure patient care is optimized while maintaining patient confidentiality and autonomy.

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