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Legal and Ethical Issues in Nursing


Judie has acted as the nurse manager for more than a decade, and the hospital’s administration is pleased with her diligence. Nonetheless, Judie has recently developed frustration and dissatisfaction attributable to staffing reduction, in addition to other institutional resolutions. Caring for her patients has at all times been the most satisfying thing in her profession. Nevertheless, of late she has a feeling that she has been compelled to overlook the patients’ needs and cater to the demands of the organization. Though she contemplates leaving, she has a high rank, benefits, and a couple of children under her care. Judie should seek a dispute resolution mechanism to address the matter constructively (Johansen, 2012).

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Evident Values


One value evident from this case is altruism, the unselfishness of the nurse manager, and commitment to the wellbeing of the patients. Altruism is the major value pushing Judie to seek a proper nurse-patient ratio and other policies to ensure successful care, a healing setting for the patients, and suitable working conditions both for herself as the nurse manager, as well as the nurses. In this way, Judie is expressing kindness and love not just to her patients, but also to the nurses and the family members as she is concerned with the two children under her care and the fact that her work is negatively affecting her family because of taking job frustrations home. Like Judie, to achieve and defend the humanistic-altruistic principles, the nurse manager has to practice compassion, love, and mindfulness (Straughair, 2012). In this regard, with proper working conditions, altruism plays a major role in unlocking the nurse manager’s sympathy and empathy proficiencies, permitting a more constructive, and healing setting for the patients.


Judie’s case also demonstrates the value of accountability. As the nurse manager, Judie has accountability for the nursing practice in the hospital and quality care for the patients. Therefore, Judie is distressed about staffing cuts and other institutional decisions because of their negative effects on the environment that facilitates professional practice and quality of care. This expresses Judie’s accountability, proficiencies, and extent of experience to manage intricate occurrences. Though challenging, dealing with such intricacies could result in the generation of clarity, enhancement of dedication, and betterment of the working environment (Shirey, Ebright, & McDaniel, 2013). If Judie were to let any decision, despite its negative effect, be implemented, there would be a lack of accountability, which would lead to staff turnover and poor care.

Personal Values

From the values evident in the case, altruism reflects my value as I have a great interest in the welfare of other people. I sometimes find myself working very hard to promote the well-being of others, even to the detriment of my benefits. For example, I frequently volunteer to care for my friends in need, disadvantaged relatives, the elderly, and the disabled in the community to contribute to their well-being.


In some occurrences, there arise conflicts from the values such as the ones evident in Judie’s case. Altruism might conflict with upholding accountability. While desiring to get money to purchase some machines and equipment to improve the quality of care, a hospital’s executive could come up with decisions for the nursing unit that is likely to affect the working environment negatively and eventually the outcome of care, such as excessive staffing reduction. In her role, a nurse manager might come across such circumstances where a choice requires being made as to whether to implement the decisions that might compromise the quality of care or reject them (Johansen, 2012). Such a situation will require enduring frustration and job dissatisfaction or standing firm and rejecting such decisions even if it means risking her position.

Guiding Beliefs, Ideals, or Goals

To Stay

If I were in Judie’s position, empathy for the patients and dedication to contribute to their welfare would guide me in resolving to stay. One of the potential consequences of choosing to stay would be enduring shortage of staff, poor nurse-doctor relations, job dissatisfaction, frustration, and burnout. These issues are like to have far-reaching effects not just for the nurse manager individually and professionally, but even for patient satisfaction. Amid the most critical impacts is the consequent reduction in the quality of care (Johansen, 2012).

To Leave

Effects of the implemented decisions such as burnout on the quality of care, patient satisfaction, my welfare, and that of my family, pals, and coworkers would result in my decision to leave. The shortage of staff is likely to cause job dissatisfaction, frustration, burnout, and emotional fatigue, which translates to absenteeism and reduced productivity emanating from work overload. Choosing to leave would lead to consequences such as increased turnover, poor care, and even high patient mortality (Johansen, 2012).

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What Judie Ought to Do

Since both choosing to leave or stay have inauspicious consequences, Judie should stay and seek a means of handling the implemented decisions through serene dispute resolution mechanisms. Instead of leaving, which would result in issues such as increased patient mortality, Judie should seek an interdisciplinary approach for handling such problems in a constructive manner (Johansen, 2012). For instance, Judie could request the medical director to form a team to assess the situation, listen to her arguments, and make a resolution


Judie has developed frustration, as well as dissatisfaction with her duties, because of staffing reduction and other institutional resolutions. Either choose to stay or leave have adverse impacts on Judie, the patients, and her family. However, instead of leaving, Judie should seek a dispute resolution means of constructively addressing the issue.


Johansen, M. L. (2012). Keeping the peace: Conflict management strategies for nurse managers. Nursing Management, 43(2), 50-54.

Shirey, M. R., Ebright, P. R., & McDaniel, A. (2013). Nurse manager cognitive decision‐making amidst stress and work complexity. Journal of nursing management, 21(1), 17-30.

Straughair, C. (2012). Exploring compassion: Implications for contemporary nursing. British Journal of Nursing, 21(3), 160.

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