Efforts to lasso health care costs puts increasing pressure on staff to do more with less. Limited resources force tough choices in quality of care.
Nurses face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis. Ethical behavior is determined by many factors. What one person considers ethical may be vastly different from a person approaching a situation with a different point of view.
The word ethics is derived from the Greek word for character. Nurses are charged with using ethical concepts in their delivery of patient care.
Ethical concepts include providing care which is good, correct, and rational. Patients need to be provided opportunities to express their freedom of choice in procuring services and determining how they want to be cared for.
Ethical nursing care is based upon rational science and decision making. There are four core concepts which are essential to a professional nursing practice.
They are respect for patient autonomy; the duty to act with beneficence; no maleficence; and justice. Nurses demonstrate beneficence by helping people reach their highest level of wellbeing. This may be achieved by providing care directly to an individual patient or developing health care policies which affect a large population.
Nurses are obligated not to harm patients. This is the principal of nonmaleficence.
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An example is administering an injection. A patent needs medication to relieve a symptom, however, in order to relieve a symptom, the nurse may cause discomfort. Nonmaleficence must be balanced by beneficence, while providing care.
The intent of the nurse provides a treatment which benefits the patient must outweigh the discomfort caused. Justice and fairness in nursing care is often related to the delivery of services.
The current health care reform plan is a result of people recognizing that the current health care system needs revision. Controversy arises over what is fair, equitable, and economically feasible.
Nurses are involved at every level of the healthcare system, making decisions, and assisting with policy development. Many experts state that the nursing concept of ethical care is an exceptional one which needs to be implemented throughout healthcare. It is similar to the medical model of ethics in that it deals with life and death issues.
The nursing model is one of individual patient empowerment. Ethical nurses lead the way for health care reform which emphasizes healing even when curing is impossible. It places quality of life in the forefront.
Ethical dilemmas which nurses face are vast in scope. Examples include diverse topics such as staffing ratios, and end of life care. Dilemmas may occur while caring for patients with disabilities which may place them at risk for self-harm.
For example, an elderly patient may want to walk without supervision. The nurse desires to promote independence, but the risk of patient injury due to falls may be great.Its purpose was to explore nurse managers' experience with ethical issues, and to find out how they dealt with the issues.
Although we understood that ethical issues are usually dealt with using multi-step approach [ 11 ], we were interested in their main action for dealing with the issues. Nurses are a group of professionals who face a variety of ethical dilemmas in the course of carrying out their job duties.
Irrespective of where they practice and what roles they are occupying, nurses in all levels of the profession have reported being confronted with ethical dilemmas.
5 of the biggest issues nurses face today.
Another major challenge nurses face is violent behavior while on Staffing is an issue of both professional and personal concern for nurses today. Ethical dilemmas most commonly faced by nurse practitioners also changes over time with the changing healthcare system.
The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of the most common ethical dilemmas faced by nurse practitioners today, as well as current views on particular ethical dilemmas.
Personally, my favorite is the 90 y/o with cancer who is found down in the field, intubated, started on pressors, and the family wants us to do "everything" because they are the "most special in the world.". For the nurse in a traditional medical setting, ethical decisions occur occasionally and at times the nurse may face ethical dilemmas.
In contrast, the correctional nurse may face ethical situations daily. The correctional nurse makes ethical decisions about care delivery, caring and patient advocacy in planning and providing safe patient care.