Nurses are faced with ethical issues and dilemmas on a regular basis. Nurses must understand his or her values and morals to be able to deal adequately with the ethical issues he or she is faced with. Some ethical issues nurses are exposed to may be more difficult than others and the ethical decision making process is learned over time. The purpose of this paper is to identify the ethical issues in the case study provided in the week one assignment. A discussion of how to use ethical principles to address the issues presented in the case study will be covered within the paper.
A description of conflicts of this nursing student’s personal values and the ethical principles applied in this case study. The paper will describe how the ethical situation may be handled in a different healthcare setting. An identification of a professional nursing organization and describe how this organization incorporates its ethical principles into the organizations practice. An ethical issue identified in the case study starts with the possibility of child abuse either by the mother or an employee of the daycare center.
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The nurse expressed her concerns to the physician that the child may have been injured and the lack of follow-up with these concerns is an ethical issue. Why was a social worker or child protective services not called to address the possibility of child abuse? Investigating how an eighth month old child fractured both femurs is needed to protect this child’s rights. Nurses’ have a responsibility and are governed by law to report suspected abuse to the proper authorities.
A nurse should learn to apply the eight ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmalcficence, veracity, fidelity, justice, paternalism, and respect for others (Guido, 2006, pg. 1). Advocating for patients is one of the ethical principles nurses are responsible for in his or her nursing practice. Since this eight-month-old child is not able to speak up for herself the nurse must advocate for her. Protecting the child’s health, safety, and rights is part of advocating for this young patient.
Compassion and respect is another ethical principle that a nurse must show for others that he or she comes into contact with, including the mother if suspected of child abuse. The personal values of this nursing student would first suspect child abuse especially if the child has bilateral fractures of the femur. Abuse toward others is not tolerated in this author’s personal life. Respect for others is another value of this nursing student. Though showing this respect toward others is difficult at times when faced with patients and families who continually show a lack respect for themselves and others.
Respect for this eighth month old child is easily done, but to put aside personal basis and continue this respect toward the mother if abuse is the cause of the injuries may be difficult. Responsibility for ones own actions and owning up to those actions is a value of this nursing student. This author attempts to treat others fairly, equally, and the same way that she (this author) would like to be treated. These personal values are difficult to practice at times when others that this nursing student comes into contact do not have similar ethical values.
If this scenario happened in an outpatient clinic or urgent care center and there were physicians who were more dedicated to patient safety a report to child protective services may have been made regarding the child’s injuries. This child deserves to have her rights observed and an investigation is the best course of action in this scenario. Even if the investigation by child protective services finds no wrongdoing by the mother. Then an investigation of the daycare center is also needed to clear possible abuse.
The protection of a patient’s health and safety should always be part of caring for a patient. The professional nursing organization chosen to discuss in this paper is the American Nurses AssociationCalifornia (ANAC). The ANAC mission statement is “to optimize nursing’s contribution to the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities” (ANAC, 2007). This mission statement can guide the organizations efforts to promote its nursing practice standards, professional development, conduct, research, influence legislation, and enhance professional practice environments (ANAC, 2007).
The American Nurses Association has published a code of ethics that nurses are to use to guide his or her nursing practice. The ANAC publishes a newsletter that is distributed to every licensed nurse in California. The newsletter is a way to get the ANAC principles out to all nurses in California. The ANAC focuses on nursing education, practice, legislation, national ANA events, continuing education program, advisory boards, and other information that are of interest to nurses in California.
All the previously listed activities are the ANAC’s way of promoting its own ethical principles to the public and its members. In conclusion, the ethical case study presented ethical dilemmas that most nurses are exposed to at sometime in his or her nursing practice. Nurses must be cognizant of his or her personal values to be able to deal with the ethical issues and conflicts that may arise during their nursing career. Belonging to a professional nursing organization is an important way that nurses can advocate for ones profession and the public.