There are several dilemmas in the nursing field though nurses reactions to ethical dilemmas are based on their individual values and beliefs as well as ethical principles, professional codes and the climate of the healthcare setting. Nurses encounter ethical dilemmas when conflicting values and judgments are present regarding what is the best course of patient care. Ethical dilemmas are faced by nurses on a daily bases. I am choosing two of these dilemmas to address.
1. Empirical Knowledge vs. Personal Beliefs:
Empirical knowledge is the type of knowledge that includes empirical research, scientific enquiry, reductionism and positivism, it is often viewed as ‘true’ or ‘valid’ knowledge that can be theoretically explained by scientific traditional ideas like psychology, pharmacology, sociology and biology or by rigorous empirical testing which include knowledge from books, journals and conferences.
Example: If a patient is diagnosed with cancer the nurse has a simple ...view middle of the document...
2. Beneficence vs. Fidelity
Beneficence is the moral principle of “doing or producing good” nurses demonstrate beneficence by helping others reach their highest level of wellbeing, under this principle, failure to increase the good of others when one is knowingly in a position to go so is morally wrong in most cases the nurse is obligated to act to the benefit when he/she can do so. This may be achieved by helping providing care directly to the patient or by developing health care policies which affect a larger population.
Example: Resuscitating a drowning victim, providing vaccinations for the general population, encouraging a patient to quit smoking and start an exercise program, talking to the community about STD prevention.
Fidelity: This principle involves the nurse to keep promises, have loyalty, fairness, truthfulness, advocacy, and dedication to their patients. Fidelity refers to the concept of keeping a commitment and is based upon the virtue of caring. [Ethics Resource Center. (May 29, 2009). Definition of values].
Example: A patient asks the nurse not to reveal the fact that he is dying or give his diagnosis to his family. The nurse asks why he does not want his family advised.
The patient explains that his family is very emotional and has stated they would do everything to keep him alive, even if it required long-term mechanical ventilation. The patient has explained multiple times that he does not want mechanical ventilation. The nurse recognizes that keeping of this information in confidence, while supporting the family, is an example of exercising fidelity.