In nursing, there are several common ethical issues that we may encounter. These issues include end-of-life decision-making, genetic testing and counseling, access to care, and do-not-resuscitate orders. We can learn to deal with them by understanding the potential consequences of their consequences and then learning how to avoid them.
Top 6 List Of Most Common Ethical Issues In Nursing
Access To Care
There are many ethical issues in nursing, especially when providing patient care. Some of these issues may involve discussing patients’ medical information with their parents. Or they could be in situations where the patient’s wishes conflict with the medical necessity of the treatment. The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements clearly states nurses’ fundamental values. It is a valuable tool in today’s healthcare environment.
With the importance of ethics in nursing, the code for nurses with interpretive statements is regularly updated to reflect current changes in health care. It supports nurses in practicing ethically, humanely, and compassionately.
In the United States, many people do not have access to adequate health care. Poor nutrition, low health literacy, and unhealthy lifestyles contribute to health disparities. Rural people, in particular, have trouble gaining access to health care. People living in rural areas also suffer higher rates of disability and early death.
End-of-life decision-making is one of the most common ethical issues in nursing. It’s not always easy to make an informed decision. But it’s something that should be given attention. Informed consent is the process of getting a patient’s consent to a treatment or procedure.
A nurse should always speak truthfully about the best options available to a patient. A patient may have a terminal condition, but their family wants to try to save the person. When this occurs, a dilemma is created. The family feels pressured to exhaust all available options. However, the family may also be emotionally affected by the situation.
Nurses may feel stuck between telling the truth and allowing the patient’s family to vent their frustrations. Understanding that a nurse must protect a patient’s rights is important.
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Genetic Testing And Counseling
In addition to the benefits of genetic testing, it can also bring ethical dilemmas. Genetic counselors and other health professionals need to be aware of these issues and how to deal with them. Genetic counseling and testing are relatively new areas of medicine, and research is still necessary to integrate them into current practice best. However, the field is gaining momentum. Several professional organizations have developed a variety of codes of conduct for their members. A few empirical studies have documented actual ethical dilemmas in clinical practice.
The most common genetic counseling and ethical testing challenge involve the nondisclosure of a patient’s genetic status to at-risk relatives. This may be because geneticists are uncertain about the extent to which the patient’s family has a genetic predisposition to the disease. Another challenge is that the patient’s decision-making abilities are not always fully accounted for.
Genetic counseling may be provided by health professionals such as primary care practitioners or genetic specialists. Counselors will have to adjust their approach to the client’s individual needs. They should consider the cultural context of their clients and how to communicate complex information about genetics.
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Do-not-resuscitate orders are one of the most common ethical issues in nursing. They are designed to ensure patients and their families have the autonomy to make decisions about their care. A do-not-resuscitate order can save patients and their loved ones from futile interventions. It can also be seen as a graceful way to leave the world. However, a DNR decision is a complex issue. It must be discussed among the patient, family, and healthcare team. This decision must balance pain and benefit.
When making a DNR decision, nurses must consider the four basic principles of medical ethics: beneficence, justice, nonmaleficence, and integrity. These principles will help to avoid ethical dilemmas and ensure a clear moral path.
Giving up life-prolonging treatment is a mutual decision between the physician and the patient. It is made in poor prognosis situations. For example, patients with advanced cancer are likely candidates for a DNR. Nursing practitioners are expected to honor their patients’ wishes, even when those wishes may not be in the patient’s best interest. The ANA Code of Ethics includes Interpretive Statements that address DNR decisions.
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Disclose Information That Patients Need For Informed Decision-Making
One of the most common ethical issues in nursing is not disclosing information that patients need. In the medical arena, a doctor’s and a patient’s phlegm can go toe to toe. To keep your staff happy, a physician needs to get the facts out of the air in a non-confrontational manner. A well-planned physician-patient relationship is not only beneficial to both parties, but it’s also the golden opportunity to enhance patient safety and reduce malpractice claims.
While there are myriad benefits, some patients may need more persuasion to take advantage of them. That’s where a qualified physician or healthcare provider comes in. For starters, a physician should remember that each patient is unique. This is a reason to rethink the old standby physician/patient relationship and introduce the patient to new ideas and paradigms. The most effective physician-patient interaction can lead to greater health outcomes for patients and caregivers.
Educating and empowering patients to make decisions that are best for their health is a top priority and a worthy pursuit. A physician’s wand in this setting can be an invaluable resource for both the patient and the practitioner. There are many pitfalls to avoid, but a savvy physician can navigate the minefield and emerge with an enhanced level of trust and respect.
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Stress From Ethical Problems
The stress of ethical issues is often a real and overwhelming experience in nursing. Whether in a clinical setting, a hospital, or a home, there are some common ethical dilemmas that you can’t afford to ignore. The right solutions are elusive, however.
Fortunately, nurses aren’t destined to face these problems alone. As a result, we need to ensure that the people closest to the patient know how to handle these issues. While this can be difficult, it’s important to remember that there are some ethical standards of conduct to follow.
Thankfully, many hospitals and healthcare organizations have policies to help nurses manage their obligations and reduce stress. Some facilities offer a designated nurse manager responsible for handling these matters. Other employers provide a support network and resources to help nurses and healthcare professionals navigate ethical dilemmas.
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Images by ORION HOSPITAL and Jan Bergman