Nursing Ethics




Nursingis an integral part of the health care sector. Patients need a lot ofundivided attention from nurses. Nurses offer hands-on care byadministering the condition of patients, monitoring and observingpatients, keeping records as well as constantly being incommunication with the physicians. They are supposed to give correct,high-quality and rational care. Patients have the right to expresstheir preference in acquiring services as well as deciding how theywould like to be taken care of. Nurses play a key role in assistingthe sick to get to the greatest level of their health (Brown, 2010).However, nurses face a myriad of challenges (ethical dilemmas) intheir day to day undertakings (Fant, 2013). This paper focuses on twosuch dilemmas determining whether they are legal and ethical.

Casestudy #1

Inthe first instance a boy who is 12 years of age and suffering fromcancer, the nurse goes against the child’s wish and follows theparents and physicians orders. Unlike adults who have the legal andmoral right to be involved in making medical choices, children do nothave the capability to make complex medical decisions (Patricia,2014). It is the authority and duty of parents or guardians to makethe decisions for them. This entails the right to stop or refusetreatments on behalf of the sick child, even the ones that may save achild’s life. Nevertheless, the authority to make medical choicesis supposed to be based upon a child’s best interests. Choices thatare not in line with a child’s wellbeing have got to be challengedand medical caretakers have the legal in addition to ethical right tochallenge. It becomes difficult and complicated for parents to makechoices when their child is dying. Health providers are supposed toensure the comfort of the child by giving appropriate medication forsymptoms like as breathing problems and/or pain.

However,children need to be given a chance to also take part in making toughmedical decisions. It is their life in question, and as much as theydo not have the ability to understand their situationcomprehensively, it is imperative to allow them to take part indiscussing about their healthcare (Patricia, 2014). Majority ofadolescents and children usually lack the ability to make difficultmedical choices. Therefore the authority lies to the child’sparents. A child is typically considered to be mature enough if theyhave attained the age of 14 and have shown an understanding levelthat can be equated to that of an adult (Thompson, 2004). In thiscase, it is my opinion that the decision to administer chemotherapyis both ethical as well as legal. The child is below the legal age ofbeing able to make a full medical decision without having to considerthe parents. The choice is also in the child’s best interest. Asmuch as the child’s condition may be flimsy, miracles do happen andit is therefore important to try all possible means to save a life.For parents the needs of their children should be given the firstpriority. I think that all the stakeholders in this case did whatneeded to be done ethically as well as in accordance to the law.

Casestudy #2

Accordingto medical research studies, one in every four nurses givesmedication to patients without really understanding the side effectsas well as contraindications of the drug. Doctors and nurses havetotally different duties in a hospital. The training is dissimilar.Patients choose the doctor they prefer while the nurse they get isnormally through chance (Patricia, 2014). It is clear that doctorsare superior compared to nurses but that should not mean that theirvoice or opinion is meaningless. As much as they do not have theauthority to make certain healthcare decisions, they have theresponsibility and authority to be sure that the best decisions aremade. Nurses are given the right to access any information on drugsand various modes of treatment. This translates to the right ofhaving access to a doctor’s desk reference, a hospitals formularyin addition to an up to date nursing reference book on drugs. Theyalso have the authority to demand from a physician a comprehensiveand clearly written order. It should contain the name of the drug,dose and route.

Thesecond case whereby the nurse administers a drug without properresearch and also lies to the patients was neither ethical norlawful. The nurse should have questioned why each patient is given anantidepressant regardless of their ailment. Nurses have theprofessional responsibility to ensure that patients under their careget the best available care and care that is safe (Brown, 2010). Evenif patients have personally chosen a doctor, nurses are responsiblefor their wellbeing. Competent nurses are supposed to discuss theiropinions and reservations with other medical staff so as to come upwith the best quality solutions for their patients.


Nursesto a great extent determine the healing progress of patients. Theyneed to be given the best training as well as support from allquarters of the medical fraternity. This will assist them makechoices that are morally right as well as within the law.


Brown,T. (2010). When the Nurse Disagrees with the Doctor. TheNew York Times.Retrieved from

Fant,C. (2013). Major Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing. NurseTogether.Retrieved from

Patricia,B. (2014). -Ethical Dilemma Faced by Nurses Every day.NursingExplorer.Retrieved from

Thompson,C. (2004). Nurses, information use and Clinical Decision making.EvidenceBased Nursing Journal,7, (3), 68-72.