Ethical Dilemma Essay

Ethical Dilemma Essay

Ethical Dilemma  

            Nurses normally face several challenges when dealing with their patients especially when it comes to abiding by the nursing code of ethics (Chervenak & McCullough, 2017). They tend to be faced with ethical dilemmas when making crucial decisions. However, nurses must be able to use their critical thinking and appropriate decision-making skills, to make decisions mainly based on doing good and promoting patients’ health, while preventing harm, especially in such situations. The paper demonstrates an example of an ethical dilemma, conflicting ethical principles, and how the situation was handled.


Dilemma and Conflicting Values

During my early years into practice, I encountered a pregnant patient who was in preterm labor and refused to be admitted for bed rest or tocolytics. I tried to explain to the patient the situation that she was in, and the benefits of tocolytics or bed rest but she was still reluctant. The patient displays her legal right in making decisions concerning her health, as such, it is not within my capacity to force for involuntary hospitalization (Artal & Rubenfeld 2017). On the other hand, nurses have the obligation of promoting the patient’s health and safety, including that of the fetus.

Ethical Principles

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The main ethical principles associated with this dilemma are autonomy and beneficence. Upholding the mother’s autonomy puts both her life and that of the fetus in danger (Chervenak & McCullough, 2017). However, according to the ethical principle of beneficence, the right thing for the patient is to be hospitalized for bed rest. Consequently, the mother bears the burden of protecting the health and well-being of her fetus.


I had to report the matter to the nurse leader, who called in the nurse for further counseling on the matter. She ended up agreeing to be hospitalized for bed rest. This was the best decision, given that it only needed more time to educate and convince the patient rather than going against her will (Artal & Rubenfeld 2017).


            When faced with ethical dilemmas, nurses are advised to either seek leadership guidance or apply their critical thinking and appropriate decision-making skills. This has been seen in the provided case scenario, where the nurse had to work together with a team leader.


Artal, R., & Rubenfeld, S. (2017). Ethical issues in research. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology43, 107-114.

Chervenak, F. A., & McCullough, L. B. (2017). Ethical issues in cesarean delivery. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology43, 68-75.


Think of a time in a clinical that you, a colleague, or a peer had a tough decision ……… a dilemma. Why was it difficult? What values were conflicting? What ethical principles from the list were involved ( minimum 2 examples). What was done? What would you do the same or differently if faced with the same type of decision?

Rubrics or guidelines:

1) Delimma and conflicting values clearly describe. ( 4 marks)
2) Two ethical principles clearly and accurately described in relation to the delimma. ( 4 marks)
3) clear description of the outcome and what would be done the same or differently in the future. ( 2 marks)

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