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Is this nursing action ethical?

Am I doing an ethical intervention? — A Dilemma.

Nurses are often times faced with situations that tests their moral and ethical values. Regardless of where they function, some interventions contradict their values and beliefs, causing intra-personal crisis.

Correspondingly, these difficult situations varies as experienced depending on the nurse’s moral conduct. That is to say, there is no right or wrong resolution for a certain situation.

What is Nursing Ethics?

These are medical provisions that guide nurses in their nursing actions and decision-making. The medical provisions are:

  1. The need for health care is universal – the nurse practices with compassion and respect for dignity, worth and individuality of every members of the community.
  2. The patient is always the primary concern, whether it is an individual, family, community, group or a population.
  3. In all circumstances, the nurse should act as a patient advocate – protect patients’ rights and promote health and safety.
  4. A nurse is accountable for his/her actions and should take responsibility.
  5. The nurse owes the same duty to self as is given to others. The nurse honors that duty through personal growth and professional development.
  6. It is a nurse’s duty to create, improve and maintain an ethical work environment.
  7. Nurses should promote professional advancement. This may be done through Research and Evidence-based practice.
  8. The nurse collaborate with the other members of the health care team and to protect human rights and reduce health disparity.
  9. The profession must express nursing values and maintain the integrity of the profession. These should as well reflect to every Nursing professional organizations.


What is an Ethical Dilemma?

An ethical dilemma is any action, made by the nurse, that contradict his/her beliefs, moral values or the Nurses’ Code of Ethics. However, ethical dilemmas vary and are affected by different factors. What is ethical to one may be unethical to the other, depending on the nurse’s point of view.

The professional nursing practice has 4 core concepts which are vital to nursing care. They are:

1. Beneficence

these are actions, made by the nurse, that benefit the patients. Basically, these are good actions to avoid harm or to improve the patient’s situation.

2. Non-maleficence

this means “do no harm”. By all means, nurses should avoid providing medical interventions that are ineffective, or when the treatment’s risk outweighs its benefits.

3. Justice 

the provision of service and health delivery should be fair to everyone. Moreover, regardless of the patient’s financial or educational status, they should be given appropriate due care. Ultimately, everyone should have an equitable access to care and resource allocation.

4. Autonomy

Patients have the right to self-determination. In particular, nurses should recognize the patient’s liberty to choose treatment, refuse medical interventions and other decisions. Additionally, the nurse should also promote privacy and act as patient advocate.

These concepts are essential to every nursing practice, to which, when a nurse feels that one of these are violated, the nurse may begin to question the ethics of the action.

On the other hand, although nurses are guided by various ethical concepts in provision of care, it is not-worthy to acknowledge that it is the nurse who is in-charge of recognizing what is good, what is individually appropriate, and what is rational. That is to say, if a nurse determines that there is a conflict from what should be appropriately done and what is currently being done, an ethical dilemma arises.

YouTube Videos on Ethical Dilemmas

To put into picture, here are some examples:

Chat with you there! ♥



  • American Nursing Association


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