A nurse who is a friend to the mother of the family suffering from cancer finds herself in a difficult situation in trying to be loyal to the mother, to the two sons in the family and to her profession. Having been a good mother, she chooses not to disclose her medical condition to her sons so as to avoid negatively affecting them psychologically. The ethical dilemma that the nurse finds herself in by not disclosing this information will be put in focus.
There are principles that form the foundation of the ethical codes guiding the professional practice in healthcare. These are the foundations of moral theory in healthcare profession with code of ethics that call for honesty, integrity and responsibility. As such, these ethical codes that have been developed for healthcare professionals provide guidance in their practice. These would normally be created in response to anticipated or actual ethical conflicts (Schweitzer 2010). They are usually difficult to comprehend and only make sense when applied in real life in cases of ethical ambiguity. The contents in these codes vary with the risk involved in a specific profession. For example, in psychology, the code of ethics would define in greater depth the relationship with the client due to the high degree of personal relationship a psychologist would have with the client. On the other hand, there would be minimal interaction between a laboratory technician and a patient; hence the relevant code of ethics would be more on the need for accuracy and reliability in their tests.
White defines bioethics as the application of the general principles of ethics in healthcare (2005). Indeed, all the areas in health care, including staff utilization, clients’ direct care and finance allocation are bound by ethics. Ethics would raise a question but would not provide an easy answer. Among the reasons that make ethics important in the modern world include advancement in technology, changing society and more knowledgeable clients. There are three main groups in healthcare affected by ethics, namely; the providers, patient and family. They would normally have different perspectives on how they would like issues handled. This becomes more complicated when bioethics, physician theories and societal stake are considered (Warren 2011). Just like other practitioners in healthcare, nurses uphold each principle in their routine practice. However, there are times when these principles conflict calling for the nurses’ ethical decision making in choosing which of the principles becomes priority to be upheld at that moment. In such cases of ethical dilemma, there is no ‘right’ solution. Fant defines ethical dilemma as a problem that does not have a satisfactory resolution (2012). Thus, different ethical choices on an ethical dilemma could be made, but this does not justify any choice as being ‘wrong’ or ‘right.’ The definition of ethics varies from one nurse to another and would normally be shaped by experience, values and beliefs of an individual nurse. The code of ethics with respect to the