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Ethical Issues in Professional Nursing Practice

Even though drawing a clear line between ethical and unethical behaviors is barely a possibility because of the nuanced nature of the subject matter, there is a set of rigid ethical standards in contemporary nursing practice. With the advance of IT in every conceivable domain of people’s lives, including healthcare and nursing, the dilemmas associated with the management of patients’ data were added to the list of modern concerns in nursing ethics. In an interview with an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), some of the current ethical issues were discussed, the issue of patients’ data security is the key one.

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Moreover, the interviewed nurse explained that the lack of workforce, which can be observed in nursing facilities at present, implies a drastic drop in the quality of nursing services. Because of the shortage of competent employees, nursing facilities are forced to either hire the staff members that do not meet the existing quality expectations or have to deal with understaffing.

The latter, in turn, is likely to trigger a rapid increase in the rates of workplace burnouts among nurses, causing them to provide the services of lower quality and even creating the environment in which frequent errors may become a possibility. As a result, the lack of workforce that can currently be observed in the realm of nursing facilities is a much greater problem than one might consider it to be (Bogaert et al., 2014).

Finally, the problems associated with the necessity to both provide a patient with essential information and prevent the instances of emotional distress were rendered in the interview. Even though there is a range of techniques related to tackling sensitive health issues tactfully and respectfully, a patient is, nevertheless, likely to experience severe shock after learning about certain diagnosis results such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc.

Therefore, nurses need to choose between telling the patient about all possible implications of their disease and preventing the incidences of psychological distress among patients. Even though nurses are legally obligated to tell patients the truth about their health issues, a sudden reveal of severe health concerns may lead to an aggravation of a patient’s condition. Therefore, the choice between disclosing all relevant information and helping patients retain their optimism and willingness to recover can be viewed as one of the primary ethical dilemmas that nurses have to face regularly.

According to the interview results, the strategies that nurses use to make sensible ethical choices are based on the principles of patient-centered care. Particularly, nurses are guided by the need to promote patient well-being. Therefore, the strategies based on multidisciplinary collaboration and the active promotion of communication between a nurse and a patient must be viewed as necessary tools for encouraging ethical behaviors among nurses (Nora, Deodato, Vieira, & Zoboli, 2016).

Therefore, to address ethical dilemmas, a nurse should consider building a multidisciplinary team of experts so that a specific problem could be viewed from several angles. Also, the enhancement of the communication process between a nurse and a patient may be deemed as a crucial step toward encouraging the target population to participate in decision-making.

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Bogaert, P. V., Timmermans, O., Weeks, S. M., Heusden, D. V., Wouters, K., & Franck, E. (2014). Nursing unit teams matter: Impact of unit-level nurse practice environment, nurse work characteristics, and burnout on nurse reported job outcomes, and quality of care, and patient adverse events. A cross-sectional survey. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51(8), 1123-1134. Web.

Nora, C. R. D., Deodato, S., Vieira, M. M. S., & Zoboli, E. L. C. P. (2016). Elements and strategies for ethical decision-making in nursing. Texto & Contexto – Enfermagem, 25(2), e4500014. Web.

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