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NUR 300 Angeles College Ethical Dilemmas in Modern Healthcare Practice Discussion

NUR 300 Angeles College Ethical Dilemmas in Modern Healthcare Practice Discussion


As nursing students navigating the complex landscape of modern healthcare, you are undoubtedly confronted with various ethical dilemmas that challenge your moral compass and professional judgment. These dilemmas often require critical thinking, empathy, and adherence to ethical standards. For this discussion, please consider the following scenario and address each of the five components with thoughtful analysis, supported by APA citations to validate different points of view:

Imagine you are working in a busy urban hospital as a nurse, and you’re assigned to a patient who has been admitted with a life-threatening condition. The patient is elderly, frail, and has a poor prognosis. The patient’s family is emotionally distraught and holds differing opinions on the treatment plan. Some family members want the medical team to pursue aggressive treatment, including surgeries and interventions, while others believe that focusing on palliative care would be more appropriate, as it aligns with the patient’s previously expressed wishes.

Discussion Components:

1. Identify the Ethical Dilemma:
Clearly state the ethical dilemma presented in the scenario. What conflicting values and principles are at play?

2. Explore Stakeholder Perspectives:
Discuss the viewpoints of various stakeholders involved, including the patient, family members, medical team, and yourself as the nurse. How might each stakeholder’s perspective influence their opinions on the treatment plan?

3. Apply Ethical Theories:
Apply at least two ethical theories (see list of theories below) to analyze the scenario. How would these theories guide your decision-making process as a nurse facing this ethical dilemma?

  • Utilitarianism: This theory focuses on maximizing overall happiness or well-being. It suggests that the morally right action is the one that produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.
  • Deontology: Deontological ethics emphasizes the importance of following rules, principles, or duties. It suggests that certain actions are inherently right or wrong, regardless of their consequences.
  • Virtue Ethics: Virtue ethics centers around developing and embodying virtuous character traits. It suggests that moral actions stem from cultivating virtues such as honesty, courage, compassion, and integrity.
  • Rights-based Ethics: This theory is rooted in the concept of human rights. It asserts that individuals have inherent rights that must be respected and protected, and ethical decisions should uphold those rights.
  • Ethics of Care: The ethics of care theory emphasizes the importance of nurturing and maintaining relationships. It focuses on the interconnectedness of individuals and the moral obligation to care for others, especially in situations of vulnerability.
  • Principlism: Principlism involves the application of fundamental ethical principles, such as autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice, to guide ethical decision-making in complex situations.
  • Religious Ethics: Some individuals base their ethical decisions on religious beliefs and teachings. Different religious traditions offer distinct moral frameworks for addressing ethical dilemmas.
  • Cultural Relativism: This perspective holds that ethical standards are culturally determined, and what is considered morally acceptable varies across different cultures.
  • Feminist Ethics: Feminist ethics critiques traditional ethical theories for neglecting women’s perspectives and experiences. It focuses on addressing issues related to gender equality, oppression, and social justice.
  • Narrative Ethics: Narrative ethics emphasizes the importance of understanding individuals’ life stories and contexts in making ethical decisions. It focuses on the narrative aspects of human experience.

4. Professional Responsibilities:
Explain the professional responsibilities of nurses in advocating for patients’ best interests while respecting their autonomy and the values of the patient’s family. How can you balance these responsibilities in this particular situation?

5. Construct a Resolution Strategy:
Based on your analysis, propose a comprehensive strategy for addressing the ethical dilemma. What steps could be taken to facilitate a constructive dialogue among the family members and the medical team? How can you advocate for the patient’s well-being and dignity while maintaining a collaborative approach?

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