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Ethical Dilemmas Faced by Nurses

Medical ethics is the code adhered to by nurses as well as all other health professionals. In recent times, advances in the medical profession have caused a lot of ethical dilemma for nurses. They are not able to perform their duties effectively because of these dilemmas. Some of the ethical dilemmas faced by nurses are seen here:

1. Euthanasia:

Euthanasia is a hotly debated topic. It is commonly known as mercy killing. Though it is legal in some countries, it is an ethical dilemma for a nurse. The nurse may not be the one who decides on the ending of the life of the affected person, but as a team member in the care given to a patient who is suffering, she will need to make the decision to be a part of the ultimate decision to ‘pull the plug’. It is effectively terminating the life of a person. In other words, it is killing a person, which is against all that is taught to a nurse to do. The role of a nurse is to prolong the life of a patient, but at the same time, the nurse is also taught to make the patient more comfortable and relieve pain and suffering. This is what euthanasia does. The debate will not have an easy answer. Ethical Dilemmas about use of euthanasia will rage on.

2. Use of certain drugs:

Some drugs that are used in the treatment of diseases can be very deadly themselves. In spite of this, these medications are given in small doses for the treatment of certain diseases. Sometimes, the treatment may backfire and complications may arise. So, nurses may have to ultimately take the blame for this situation. This is another of the ethical dilemmas many nurses face all the time.

3. Patient interactions:

Patient interactions too can ethical dilemmas for some nurses. Some of the patients may feel close to a nurse, much more than they should feel. This can lead to serious problems in the professional work of a nurse. To limit the patients’ interaction or continue in the same vein is a serious question needing answer.

4. Sedative usage:

The use of sedatives to reduce the pain can be an effective strategy. There are situations when the sedatives are rampantly used and this could reduce the time spent by a patient with the family member, sometimes, the last few minutes of a patient’s life is sedated and they die without even being able to talk to their relatives. This is a serious ethical issue.

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