Examples Of Ethical Dilemmas In Nursing

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Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing While nursing is a fulfilling occupation, it is not without its challenges. The complexities of today’s healthcare system present nurses with a multitude of ethical dilemmas every day. This paper will define the meaning of ethical dilemmas and discuss common types of ethical dilemmas in nursing, such as patient autonomy and privacy. This paper will review the effects these dilemmas may have on nurses, as ethical dilemmas for nurses may often be stressful and involve life and death decisions. The Code of Ethics for Nurses set forth by the American Nurses Association and the International Council of Nurses Code of Ethics are also discussed, as they are integral in guiding nurses in compassionate, ethical care.
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Ethics govern our relationships with others. Ethics and morals are very similar, in that both deal with questions of right and wrong. Societal or cultural norms determine ethical behavior whereas moral behavior depends on the individuals own sense to decide about what is right and wrong (Ethical Dilemma Scholarly Peer-review Journal, 2017). In nursing, ethical dilemmas are ethically controversial situations experienced through the healthcare professional’s obligation to inform the patients, support participation in patient decision making and patient advocacy. The goals of healthcare professionals are inherently ethical and involve protecting patients from harm while providing care that benefits them (Kim, Han & Kim, 2014).
Various factors are associated with the development of ethical dilemmas, including advances in medical technology, increased life expectancy, the high cost of healthcare in an environment of limited resources, lack of time to provide care and conflicting values and cultures among patients, nurses and other healthcare professionals. All of which, including the growth of the nursing profession, have brought an increase in the nurses’ participation in human rights and life and death decision-making situations (Kim et al.,
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International Council of Nurses Code of Ethics for Nurses The International Council of Nurses (ICN) adopted the ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses in 1953, with its most recent review and revision in 2012. The ICN Code of Ethics follows four principal elements that outline the standards of ethical conduct:
1. Nurses and people- People requiring nursing care are the nurse’s primary professional responsibility, along with providing an environment where human rights, values, customs, and spiritual rights of the patient, family and community are respected.
2. Nurses and practice- The nurse is responsible for continued education to maintain competence in nursing practice and delegation, and is responsible for maintaining personal health to ensure that care is not compromised.
3. Nurses and the profession- The nurse takes on the role of determining and implementing acceptable standards of nursing practice, management, research and education, and helps to develop research-based professional knowledge for evidence-based

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