April 13, 2012

Ethical Decision making in Healthcare

Nursing Essay on Ethical Decision Making in Health Care 
Nursing is a noble profession as it involves care of suffering, diseased, and dying individuals. We find two different kinds of ethics in nursing: personal and professional. Both these roles are equally important playing a pivotal role in ensuring safer, healthy, and conducive environment for the patients.
In this paper, we will discuss personal philosophy of nursing ethics, the effects of personal, social, moral and spiritual values on its practice. All these factors are necessary ingredients in the development and growth of a nurse.
The education, upbringing, life experiences, religious and political beliefs shape up the personal ethics of a nurse. As opposed to professional work ethics, personal ethics in nursing profession may vary from person to person. For example, if a nurse does not use any of workplace resources for personal use such as telephone, office vehicle etc then this is personal ethic even though there is no official obligation on the nurse for that matter.
 People following different personal work ethics may cause conflict at times but there are a few established notions of personal work ethics that every nurse should adopt while carrying out professional responsibilities. 
   According to Boyd, “nursing (personal) ethics must address the issues related to the academic and clinical training of nurses, their moral formation, personal growth, professional competence and their continuing education.”(Boyd, 2000) In my opinion, it is the responsibility of a nurse to have an understanding of personal and biases that may affect their work. I, as a nurse, need to nurture the ability of decision-making. 
For example, it is necessary for a nurse to be able to decide whether what kind of treatment different patients require or should not be given. 
  In other words, “personal ethics may be described as the personal set of moral values which an individual (nurse) chooses to live by and which generally guide his or her approach to their moral life and relationships with others such as matters of conscience are a good example of personal morality.”(Johnstone 1999)
However, at times, there may arise complexities while exercising personal work ethics. For example, the work ethics of a nurse may come into direct clash with the work ethics of a professional organization they work at. To deal with such ethical dilemma, the best way for a nurse is to seek the consensus on a disputed issue. It is advisable to seek the input of fellow nurses and concerned doctors.
It is always important for a nurse to appreciate the work ethics of others as it may generate a very useful and valuable resource for their patients. 
Let us take an example of a nurse who is caring a patient suffering from the middle stage of cancer. The patient begins to form a sort of emotional dependence on the nurse and wants the same nurse to look after him until recovery.
The patient’s family is also under the impression that the presence of that particular nurse may help him recover faster. Such kind of instances may create problems for the nurse amid treatment that patient. What is the nurse supposed to do in such situation? Some nurses would impulsively refuse to look after such a patient but the nurse with intact personal work ethics would definitely consult the Ethics committee of the hospital and take the family of the patient into confidence to decide the future course of action.

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