Making dubious ethical decisions is difficult for people who are ethical (or at least are trying to be ethical) even by definition. The survey on the moral problems that I took was sometimes quite difficult, but may have equipped me better to my clinical practice in the future by making me more ready for such decisions.
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Even though the choices in the survey often were rather difficult, I found myself selecting mostly strong answers. This is probably because I chose those answers that seemed to be supported by the law. I think a person’s “moral compass” is often clouded by judgment, whereas the legislation itself does not bear such a problem. In addition, the legislation is probably written “in blood”, when, e.g., laws were adopted to address the cases of loss of life, severe injury, etc.; so I believe one should adhere to the law first. Nevertheless, moral judgment is also important, for not all laws and legal decisions were made by very moral people.
Nevertheless, I would probably be reluctant making my answers public. This is in part because if I was in such situations, I would not always like others to know about my decisions – for instance, a nurse whistleblower who acts against forced sterilization would probably wish to act undercover in order not to raise suspicions, and to be able to gather more data to help protect the innocent.
The case where the prenatal patient stopped taking painkillers triggered strong emotions in me. I was angry with the patient because it was a great folly to stop taking medications abruptly and not to consult her NP, a folly that caused serious problems in the patient and led to miscarriage. It was also quite insolent of her to lie and accuse her NP, even though her emotional state is understandable. However, I feel I was able to remain objective, because in this case, the fault is clearly the patient’s.
To sum up, the survey strongly encouraged critical thinking. Although I know that moral considerations are paramount, I am sure that legal regulations should take priority.
Week 1, Discussion 1
It is known that in clinical practice, medics often have to make difficult moral decisions. However, when the proposed survey gave a number of rather strong examples of such decisions, I was quite surprised about several situations. However, I believe I learned a number of valuable lessons from this survey.
It is my hope that after reflecting on the cases, I was able to select appropriate answers, although because the decisions were often rather dubious, I often found it difficult to make confident and decisive decisions, and I mostly chose moderate responses. However, if all the answers were obvious, there would probably be no need to take so many cases to the court.
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On the whole, it was probably most difficult to make a decision in the case about transgender children. On the one hand, these people are very young, and it might be possible that they do not realize what they are doing. On the other hand, it is likely that they suffer much due to their status, and hormone therapy might be of serious help, perhaps even save the lives of some of them, preventing potential suicide. Thus, I arrived at the “Strongly Agree” answer in the end.
In general, I relied more on policy and moral considerations when making my decision. Although the legal aspects are pivotal, the law still does not describe any particular situation, it only provides generalized rules and does not supply all the answers.
I used several critical thinking strategies and methods; for instance, I attempted to put myself in place of different “characters” of these cases, after trying to consider them from a neutral point of view. Although this rarely changed my initial decision, I believe it helped me understand the situations better.
All in all, the proposed survey helped me to better understand the difficulty of decisions that nurses sometimes have to make. It is my belief that the lessons I learned may have prepared me better for my future practice.