Ethical dilemmas are part of nursing practice ever since the dawn of the profession; nurses have struggled to make the right and ethical decision as well as choices. When Florence Nightingale wrote Notes on Nursing, she discoursed on various ethical issues such as;…
The common ethical dilemma that nurses faces is control versus autonomy, which arises when patients reject nursing care. This poses problems because it contradicts the basic nursing tenet “to do no harm”. When a patient is denied treatment for whatever reason, it is likely that harm will befall them, which means that a nurse will technically have betrayed his/her ethical values (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001). On the other hand, a nurse is under commitment to respect the patient desires; consequently, there appears to be no way for him/her to take action without compromising.
Mrs. Clayton (Not her real name), 65 years of age has been living alone for the last two years, and although her health has deteriorated gradually over the period, she has been reluctant to see a doctor. Her husband passed away one year ago and since then, she has neglected both her health and hygiene. Her daughter and son In-law have tried to convince her to move in with them, but she adamantly refused. Efforts to have her hire a live in house help or nurse have been rebuffed and although she is evidently unwell, she refuses to be assistance attempts. I met her during my internship when I was assigned to work with the adult care-nursing department. She had agreed to see some medical personnel but on condition, her daughter would be present and they would not try to force anything on her. Upon entering her apartment, we noticed evidence of neglect, since dirty clothes, cups and plates were all over the apartment. There was a strong smell or urine and stale food while at the same time she was unkempt with shaggy wild hair, stained clothes and a distinct body odour. She was walking with a limp and kept coughing, sometimes having fits that left her doubled up gasping for breath. Upon examination, she was suffering from a chest infection not to mention possible bacterial and other problems that could have resulted from her ...
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