Nursing embodies a great deal of professionalism and just like any other professions, ethical issues in nursing have become a matter of concern for its practitioners.
Professionals even people in general are confronted with ethical issues of some kind. However, these issues become more emphasized when public practitioners are involved. Industries like healthcare and medicine hold ethics in its highest regard. This is because of the involvement of human life.
Health care practitioners like doctors and nurses sometimes face ethical dilemmas in their fields. Even if often trained to manage issues of this kind, oftentimes, they can have lasting impact on their professional as well as personal lives. The general awareness among masses regarding one’s rights during a medical procedure often conflicts with the morals of this industry.
What are some of the Ethical Issues in Nursing Practice?
Issue on Consent and Capacity
The Patient Bill of Right adopted by American Hospitals Association states that, “a patient possesses the right to be informed of the medical consequences of his or her actions and decisions and refuse treatment to the extent permitted by the law”.
However, this is only true if the patient is in position to understand the consequences of his treatment. Cases such as, if the patient is incompetent and senile, neither has the correct judgment regarding which treatment is appropriate for him, nor is he in a state of understanding the implications of his treatment. In this case, their willingness to grant or deny consent can’t dictate the course of treatment.
Sometimes, even in case of mentally sound patients, the families of patients sometimes fail to understand that doctors and nurses are experts about their health than themselves. They sometimes forget that denying consent to an effective treatment may cause a patient his life.
Issue on Confidentiality
This is an ethical issue erupting from the conflict of patient’s rights and professional ethics in the nursing profession. In certain situations, the patient and his family may not understand the full consequence of the information provided to them by the nurse, especially if the information is not properly communicated. This may unnecessarily lead to a misunderstanding and panic. It is to note that although, there is no harm in informing most of the families, some of them are better kept in dark for the interest of your patients.
Issue on Non-Compliance of Patient
This is oftentimes the most ethical issues a nurse may encounter because some patients seek repeated treatments for the same condition again and again. A patient sometimes ends up getting admitted in different hospitals for the same condition, without much improvement in his health. More often than not, these treatments options are sought at the expense of tax payers’ money. In normal circumstances, this is not a problem as every patient has a right to receive best possible treatment. On the other hand, when the nurse finds out that the issue is self induced, his personal opinion may cloud his judgment regarding the treatment given to such patient. This is one of the biggest ethical dilemmas faced by the nurse practitioners.
These ethical issues in the nursing profession are often times experienced by physicians or /and other health care professionals.