Discussion: NUR 2058 Ethical Nursing Practice
For this discussion you will be examining ethical nursing practice. In three to five paragraphs answer the following questions.
Define in your own words “ethical nursing practice.”
Describe the basis or framework you used for your definition.
Explain the difference between legal and ethical nursing practice.
Discuss one ethical or bioethical dilemma a nurse may encounter and describe how it could be handled.
Ethics, simply defined, is a principle that describes what is expected in terms of right and correct and wrong or incorrect in terms of behavior. For example, nurses are held to ethical principles contained within the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics. Ethics and ethical practice are integrated into all aspects of nursing care.
The two major classifications of ethical principles and ethical thought are utilitarianism and deontology. Deontology is the ethical school of thought that requires that both the means and the end goal must be moral and ethical; and the utilitarian school of ethical thought states that the end goal justifies the means even when the means are not moral.
The ethical principles that nurses must adhere to are the principles of justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence, accountability, fidelity, autonomy, and veracity.
Justice is fairness. Nurses must be fair when they distribute care, for example, among the patients in the group of patients that they are taking care of. Care must be fairly, justly, and equitably distributed among a group of patients.
Beneficence is doing good and the right thing for the patient.
Nonmaleficence is doing no harm, as stated in the historical Hippocratic Oath. Harm can be intentional or unintentional.
Accountability is accepting responsibility for one’s own actions. Nurses are accountable for their nursing care and other actions. They must accept all of the professional and personal consequences that can occur as the result of their actions.
Fidelity is keeping one’s promises. The nurse must be faithful and true to their professional promises and responsibilities by providing high quality, safe care in a competent manner.
Autonomy and patient self-determination are upheld when the nurse accepts the client as a unique person who has the innate right to have their own opinions, perspectives, values and beliefs. Nurses encourage patients to make their own decision without any judgments or coercion from the nurse. The patient has the right to reject or accept all treatments.
Veracity is being completely truthful with patients; nurses must not withhold the whole truth from clients even when it may lead to patient distress.
The most commonly occurring ethical issues and concerns in healthcare include the allocation of scarce resources and end of life issues.
Bioethics is a subcategory of ethics. Bioethics addresses ethical concerns like those that occur as the result of advancing science and technological advances. Some of the most common, current bioethical issues revolve around stem cells, cloning, and genetic engineering.