Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing (Essay Sample)

December 4, 2020

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Write a paper of 750-1,000 words in which you describe your professional moral compass. As you write your paper, include the following:
What personal, cultural, and spiritual values contribute to your worldview and philosophy of nursing?
How do these values shape or influence your nursing practice?
Define values, morals, and ethics in the context of your obligation to nursing practice. Explain how your personal values, philosophy, and worldview may conflict with your obligation to practice, creating an ethical dilemma.
Reflect and share your own personal thoughts regarding the morals and ethical dilemmas you may face in the health care field.
How do your personal views affect your behavior and your decision making?
Do not be concerned with the use of ethical terminology for this paper.
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Dilemmas, as far as they go, exist in virtually every type of profession. All fields of work come about with some form of exceptionalities which comprehensively eliminate the aspect of a perfect profession. To a greater extent, ethical dilemmas complement each profession. On an outer look, nursing is perceived as one of the most fulfilling professions around the globe. Challenges in any profession are inevitable. Nursing from an inner look is faced with challenges and most profoundly the ethical dilemmas on a daily basis. Ethics in any profession are a set of regulations or principles through which decisions based on ethics are made. The major purpose of these mechanisms is the fostering of ethics of very high standards. The core business of nursing includes health promotion, easing of pain and illness prevention. The code of ethics, however, dictates that apart from that, the respect to human life must be part of the job. Respect to human life means cultural rights, right to choice and life and respectful and dignified treatment among others.
The nursing profession, like the larger medical field, is compounded with various dilemmas. Ethical dilemmas make nurses encounter moral distress. This is because, in most situations, they feel that they failed or were restricted to do what they consider ‘right’ (Wood, 2014). Some nurses, on the encounter of this, dare to speak it out with the colleagues or the management while others don’t. Such a scenario is often compounded by the Hippocratic Oath that these individuals have to take when commencing their careers. They often heave under such challenges, but again cannot be allowed to speak about them. Here are some of the most common ethical dilemmas that nurses encounter while performing their duties and what can be done.
Honesty in controversial to information
Nurses need to acquire information about the patient’s history to attain quality care. At the same time, they need to give the information about the patient’s condition with the patient or the family of the patient. This becomes a hurdle because they are not sure of the kind of information, the time and the manner in which they can present it to the parties in question (Carlise & Zoboli, 2015). The dilemma comes in if they should tell the patient’s condition or if they should let the patient enjoy a stress-free life during their last days. It is therefore up to the intelligence and common sense of the nurse to determine and ascertain the best course of action to take under such circumstances. This, is never easy. Families, on the other hand, withdraw or fail to provide truthful information about the patient for the purposes of protecting them. The misinformation may lead to adverse outcomes which lead to unethical conduct to the respective nurse.
The Nurse Control against the Freedom of the Patient
This is one of the most common ethical dilemmas in the nursing profession. Incorporated in the principles of ethics is the right to choice and cultural rights. The two give the patient the freedom of rejection of the medical advice given by the nurse or the physician. Remember, nurses are highly educated and experienced professionals who understand the most efficient and profound clinical course to tackling an action. If the patient refuses their advice, doesn’t that mean that they will have to comply with the course the patient wants even if it gives the less optimal outcome? But again, what can ,and should the nurse do, when it gets to this?
Closely related to this are personal, religious or cultural beliefs of a patient in controversial to a nurse’s empirical and science-based knowledge (Shapira, 2009. Even though it is a matter of life and death, some religious or cultural beliefs forbid some of the medical procedures. For instance, blood transfusion; there are some cultures and religions that forbid it.  In case of such an incidence that the nurse will have nothing but to watch a patient die, builds up moral distress.
The Reproductive Rights
This is another huge dilemma faced by nurses. The argument is seen between the pro-life and the pro-choice individuals. If the nurse is pro-life, it will be hard for them to respect the decision of a patient who wants to terminate a pregnancy. The other side’s hurdle comes in, in the manner that a patient wants to keep a pregnancy yet from the assessment, it threatens their life. The pro-choice nurses are faced with the dilemma of if they should support the patient’s decision or not. Once again, it is up to the nurse’s discretion to try and choose what would be the best course of action to take under such circumstances.
The Management of Resources
This usually happens when the cost of treatment is too high due to the patient’s critical conditions which can be described as the vegetative or futile state. The resources to save the lives of these patients could be costly, and it thus becomes a very difficult decision for the nurses to redirect the costs to the patients. It becomes nigh hard to draw a line of this decision from being personal to financial. The family is grieving, and when it comes to ensuring that a loved one’s life is saved, there is no resource that is not well spent. The nurse thus takes this decision, but they are eventually charged with the ‘big picture’ maintenance perspective while in real senses, they are dealing with critical personal situations.
The ethical challenges in nursing have mostly been taken as part of the job. In one way or the other, there is nothing normal with what makes one uncomfortable. Nurses, therefore, do not have to sit back but should seek for help. There are organizations that help nurses with ethical dilemma issues, for instance, the American Nursing Association. The organization offers statements on human rights and ethics. The statements could help nurses to overcome their challenges. Other hospitals have organized committees to deal with such (Wood, 2014). Nurses are very important part of the healthcare system-they care.
Carlise, N. R. D., Vieira, M & Zoboli, P. C. L. E. (2015). Ethical Problems Experienced by Nurses in Primary Health Care. Retrieved from
Shapira, L. O. (2009). Ethical Dilemma in Nursing: The Experiences of Israel Nurses. Retrieved from
Wood, D. (2014). 10 Best Practices for Addressing Ethical Issues and Moral Distress. Retrieved from

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