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Ethical Dilemmas abound in the nursing field. So what do you do when you come face to face with your worst fear? This article may help.
Agentive Concerns for Nurses What happens when a nurse hears that a patient has decided to stop eating? They refuse to eat for the remainder of their stay in the hospital. What does the pro-life nurse do when a patient reports she wants an abortion? This goes against everything the nurse believes in. Nurses Ethical Dilemmas These are just a few of the frustrating, ethical dilemmas that many nurses have to deal with in the workplace. The nurse is bound by their job title to provide the best medical care she can to sustain life. She is bound by her heart to do the things that are in the patient’s best interests, even if it conflicts directly with the best interests of the patient. She is bound by law to respect the wishes of the patient and not do anything without their express permission. Is there anything a nurse can do to prevent taking action that could harm the patient or another life? Before answering that question, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. You must ask yourself, who gets to say what the patient does with their lives, or better put, who gets the last word in matters concerning your life? You would want that choice and you would want that choice respected. That’s a no brainer; freedom is what the United States has fought to defend for over two hundred years. People have the right to make life-changing decisions for themselves. Anyone that forces something upon them against their will is majorly infringing on those rights. A nurse enjoys those rights just as much as the patient. From that perspective, it is difficult for the nurse to be able to say that their opinion matters more than the patient’s, even if it is a bit more informed. Nurses understand this dilemma and that’s what can frustrate them the most. The next consideration to keep in mind is find out what the law says. In the case of abortion, some state laws allow parents to make the decision. In others, you can only get an abortion if the birth of the child endangers the life of the mother. The legislation is different based on the state. The same applies for other considerations. If there was any situation where life-sustaining care could be given to a patient against their wishes, those details would be available at the state and federal level. Agency Nurses are usually already aware of these situations and will act appropriately with the law when those situations arise. More often than not, their hands are tied when it comes to being able to operate against a patient’s wishes, and although it is frustrating, it is necessary for the preservation of agency. Agency is what makes America so great; it allows for unlimited growth and potential. Some may choose things that you don’t always agree with, but they have to be allowed to do so in many cases in order for you to enjoy yours. In the case of nurses disagreeing with a patient’s decision, they can always try to talk them out of the decision, or ask a doctor to do it. Those conversations are best kept civil. They should not interfere with a nurse’s ability to give care whenever possible. Steven’s Henager offers prospective nurses the opportunity to get the education they need for a nursing degree in Idaho Falls. A nursing degree is the only way to get involved in patient care. Although they may reach a dilemma or two every now and then, the majority of their work allows them to give the kind of care they got into the business to provide.
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