Nurses may be faced with ethical conflicts. As nurses we must examine our own beliefs and feelings regarding ethical issues and not impose our own values on any patient or caregiver. At the same time, it is our duty to also support appropriate behavior and to protect our patients from harm. Ethical issues involve the good and bad of moral duty and moral obligations. Nursing can be considered an ethical enterprise since it often involves an alternative action when providing care (Gilliland, 2010). It concerns doing well and avoiding harm. The nursing code of ethics is a great resource to follow when faced with ethical dilemmas.
In the Marianne case study, it states that “she has no advance directives, but her husband wants to try everything” and the children believe that Marianne “would not want to undergo surgery only to be kept alive with poor quality of life.” An advice that a nurse may give to Marianne’s family is to help them be aware of the result of the medical procedures. Marianne’s husband needs to know that once she undergoes surgery there is a good chance that they will need to have some lifestyle changes. As nurses, we should be able to provide the family with an objective view of the importance of each action as well as provide some emotional support that Marianne’s family need to deal with to their current situation.
In the second case, with Nurse Jane having witnessed acts of negligence from her colleague, there may be things to consider that might make Nurse Jane’s decision. Examples of these may be fear from her coworkers, her sense of loyalty to her employer (the hospital), as well as her concern for the patient. Reference
Gilliland, M. (2010). A Systemic Approach to Ethical Decision-Making for Nurses Confronted With
Ethical Problems. Health Careers Today. Retrieved on July 23, 2011 from