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Brief discussion of an ethical issue impacting the nursing profession - Article Example

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Brief discussion of an ethical issue impacting the nursing profession

The patient wishes to abort the baby by all means even if it means taking the crude options. How would a nurse deal with such cases especially when the law prohibits abortion? Encouraging her to abort against the law would amount to professional misconduct as argued by Botes (2000). According to Tauber (2005), patient autonomy refers to the exclusive legal right of a patient to have his wishes accomplished by the medical personnel while in their custody. By this clause, every patient has a right to seek truthful details of their state of health. Besides, the patient reserves the right to choose not to take a particular course of treatment even if the practitioner deems it necessary. By that understanding, the right of autonomy already presents a potential conflict of interest between the patient and the practitioner (Cowen & Moorhead, 2011). For instance, patient got pregnant out of a rape ordeal that has since left her traumatized, demeaned and psychologically broken. Through family support and encouragement, this patient has carried the pregnancy for more than eight months but each passing day her emotional and psychological health status continue to deteriorate. She has become depressed, weak and torn to a point that she cannot take the pain anymore. The patient wishes to abort the baby by all means even if it means taking the crude options. How would a nurse deal with such cases especially when the law prohibits abortion? Encouraging her to abort against the law would amount to professional

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misconduct as argued by Botes (2000). Turning her away is no better than negligence in case she ends up executing her plans in the backstreet. Disregarding patient’s autonomy on the other hand is tantamount to malpractice as stipulated in the nursing code of practice (Casterle et al, 2008) Impact on the nursing profession Such hypothetical scenarios are common occurrences especially among the youthful population who might have got pregnant against their wishes and would therefore opt to abort, contrary to the law. Like many other clinical dilemmas, the issue of client autonomy often leave the nurse on the hot spot as to what would be best for their patients’ life and their nursing profession. Similar cases of autonomy and conflict of interest are also common among the terminally ill patients who may not wish to continue with their medication after years of deteriorating health as observed by Yamamoto and Aso (2009). The conflict that arises over patient autonomy in a clinical situation often touches on ethics, code of practice and the law. The available exceptions only allow a medical doctor or a physician to make a compromising decision, and only if the patient is not in her right state of mind to make a sound decision. Such critical decisions must be well-consulted and duly approved by relevant authorities in the medical hierarchy. Unfortunately, nurses do not have such provisions especially those below the managerial level who also forms the bulk of practicing nurses. They must always depend on the doctor’s directives or second opinion (Schermer, 2002; Hamilton, 2012). In reality, the balance between patient autonomy and professional opinion of nursing practitioners is a major issue in healthcare facilities below level 3 including community hospitals and village dispensaries. Not withstanding the number of nurses who have lost their jobs as a result of perceived malpractice, the law always favour the weaker party who happens to be the patient (Kulkarni, 2010). In the event that a doctor is not readily accessible, such cases that appear simple from the face value pose a major risk to

Summary

This paper evaluates the depths of patient autonomy as an ethical dilemma impacting the nursing profession. Patient Autonomy as an Ethical Dilemma in Nursing According to Tauber (2005), patient autonomy refers to the exclusive legal right of a patient to have his wishes accomplished by the medical personnel while in their custody. …
Author : gracielaharris
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