Nurses face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis regardless of where they practice. No matter where nurses function in their varied roles, they are faced with ethical decisions that can impact them and their patients. There is no “right” solution to an ethical dilemma. So what is an ethical dilemma? It is a problem without a satisfactory resolution. The significance of ethical decision-making lays in the fact that very different ethical choices regarding the same ethical dilemma can be made resulting in neither choice being a “right or wrong” decision.
Ethics involve doing “good” and causing no harm
There are many ethical issues nurses can encounter in the workplace. These include: * quality versus quantity of life:
Quantity may address how long a person lives or perhaps how many people will be affected by the decision. Quality pertains to how “good” a life a person may have and this varies depending on how a person defines “good”. So how does the nurse support a patient deciding between a therapy that will prolong life but the quality of life will be compromised? The person may live longer, but will likely experience significant side effects from the therapy. What should the nurse’s position be?
* pro-choice versus pro-life
* freedom versus control,
* truth telling versus deception,
* fair distribution of resources,
‘Moral philosophy is the attempt to achieve a systematic understanding of the nature of morality and what it requires of us - in Socrates’ words, of “how we ought to live,” and why’. Morality
* Morality is usually construed as meaning what is right and wrong. * ‘The term morality refers to social conventions about right and wrong human conduct that are so widely shared that they form a stable (although usually incomplete) communal consensus, whereas ethics is a general term referring to both morality and ethical theory’ Ethics
‘Ethics is a generic...
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