Essay on Ethical Dilemmas During a Pandemic

Essay on Ethical Dilemmas During a Pandemic

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Florence Nightingale once said, “apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.” Nurses face ethical dilemmas daily while caring for patients and patients’ families, and while working in a multidisciplinary environment. Many ethical dilemmas faced by a nurse are often difficult to resolve, which often times, leads nurses to withhold care due to the conflicting values of self, of patients’ values, and employers values and expectations of its employees. It is of the essence that nurses recognize this dilemma and resolve it without delay to preclude compromise of patient’s care and wellbeing. But this is not always an easy fix as in the case study of nurse PT and her ethical dilemma during the H1N1 pandemic in Ontario (CNA, August 2008)
Ontarians had one thing on their minds back in April 2009....the influenza A virus subtype H1N1, or swine flu. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) affirmed a global pandemic, with over 8000 confirmed cases in Ontario alone, and 95 confirmed deaths by November 26, 2009 (Wikipedia, 2011). A pandemic is an astonishing event that sometimes compels nurses to go above and beyond their duty to provide care to their ailing patients. With their duty to provide care, many nurses were faced with grappling ethical dilemmas, as in the case of nurse PT who was ambivalent between her need to work for financial means, her accountability to her patient and employer, and her uncertainties that she may become infected and will than transmit the disease to her children.
Nurse PT cared for many patients infected with the H1N1 virus, but most memorable was a four year old girl name CR. CR was brought to the ER by her parents in July 2009. CR...

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... on November 11, 2011, from
College of Nurses of Ontario. (2009). Practice Standard: Ethics. Retrieved on November 11, 2011, from (1999-2011). Florence Nightingale quotes. Retrieved on November 11, 2011, from
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2010, June 2). The H1N1 Pandemic-How Ontario Fared: A Report by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Retrieved on November 11, 2011, from
Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. (2011, November 8). Influenza A virus subtype H1N1. Retrieved on November 11, 2011 from

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