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Advanced Practice Nursing Decisions and Moral Distress


Nurse practitioners (NPs) encounter ethical dilemmas whenever providing medical services to their patients. Such challenges occur since many individuals tend to have diverse needs and expectations. Some occurrences or events might be beyond a practitioner’s control. This paper describes my future leadership roles as a family nurse practitioner (FNP). It also presents the best values and strategies for addressing moral distress caused by ethical dilemmas.

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Leadership Role

Several aspects have the potential to influence my ethical decision-making processes as a FNP leader. For example, I should always focus on the rights and expectations of all families receiving health support. Principles of autonomy, privacy, confidentiality, trust, and justice influence the decisions made by practitioners whenever providing services to different patients in a family nursing home. According to Mackey and Bassendowski (2017), caregivers should uphold the highest level of professionalism, make evidence-based decisions, and focus on the welfare of the targeted patients.

Similarly, there are legal issues that continue to dictate the ethical decision-making processes of many nurse leaders. For instance, every FNP should be aware of his or her scope of practice. It is also appropriate to act in a professional manner, protect patients’ rights, and follow stipulated clinical guidelines (Barlow, Hargreaves, & Gillibrand, 2018). Legal concepts such as breach of duty, causation, duty, and damages are applicable to the field of FNP. In all circumstances, the law requires that FNPs provide exemplary, timely, and evidence-based care to the targeted patients.

As an FNP, I will always embrace the concept of leadership to make the most appropriate ethical, legal, and moral decisions. The first issue to consider is to practice in accordance with the existing legal requirements. This means that I will execute my duties diligently, follow medical guidelines, act in a professional manner, and focus on the best models to maximize my patients’ outcomes. It will be my duty to protect all individuals from sentinel events, including medication errors and injuries.

From an ethical perspective, I will put the rights of my patients first. It will also be necessary to guide family members using these principles: justice, altruism, and nonmaleficence (Mackey & Bassendowski, 2017). I will use my leadership skills to guide and empower my followers to embrace the best procedures and practices that can meet the diverse needs of different family members.

It will be my moral responsibility and duty to do what is right always. I will make decisions that seek to protect life. For example, I will discourage patients from refusing medications or surgical procedures. I will also be against different malpractices, such as abortion and suicide. As a leader, my objective is to apply appropriate moral theories that can improve the outcomes and experiences of the greatest number of patients.

These ethical, moral, and legal decisions will support my professional aims and make me a skilled FNP (Barlow et al., 2018). The inclusion of family members and other health workers throughout the care delivery process is an approach that will result in positive results. FNPs should, therefore, consider these ideas if they are to continue providing superior medical services.

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Strategies for Addressing Moral Distress: Values

I am planning to utilize several strategies to solve moral distress arising from ethical dilemmas. The first approach is to improve my nursing philosophy in such a way that I am prepared for any possible issue that might emerge whenever providing medical services. This means that I will always act ethically and minimize such dilemmas. The second strategy is to collaborate with different colleagues and partners throughout the care delivery process.

This initiative will promote teamwork, thereby addressing any moral distress efficiently (Westrick, 2013). The third initiative is to engage in lifelong learning in order to acquire evidence-based ideas and concepts for solving and coping with moral distress. Finally, I will always seek guidance and support from my colleagues and superiors. Their inputs will guide me to make decisions that can support me whenever I face stressful moments.

I will consider specific values to support my actions or strategies. The identified ones include courage, justice, patient autonomy, excellence, informed consent, altruism, integrity, diversity, and caring. These attributes can empower health professionals to act ethically, make appropriate decisions, and address most of the challenges their patients face (Barlow et al., 2018). I will work with different individuals and colleagues using the value of diversity.

The concepts of altruism and caring will guide me to support my patients and offer adequate support. The values of excellence, justice, and excellence will make it possible for me to make relevant decisions and focus on the best actions that will eventually make me a professional FNP. I will also respect my patients’ expectations, consents, and needs. These initiatives and values will guide me to solve moral distress caused by ethical dilemmas.


The above discussion has revealed that NPs cannot separate moral, ethical, and legal issues from nursing practice. This fact explains why they should develop evidence-based philosophies, embrace the best leadership attributes, and implement superior strategies to address any form of moral distress. Such initiatives will empower them to meet their patients’ needs and eventually achieve their professional goals.


Barlow, N. A., Hargreaves, J., & Gillibrand, W. P. (2018). Nurses’ contributions to the resolution of ethical dilemmas in practice. Nursing Ethics, 25(2), 230-242. Web.

Mackey, A., & Bassendowski, S. (2017). The history and evidence-based practice in nursing education and practice. Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(1), 51-55. Web.

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Westrick, S. J. (2013). Essentials of nursing law and ethics (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Advanced Practice Nursing Decisions and Moral Distress'. 28 December.

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