Essay on Ethical Dimensions in Health Care Profession

1482 Words Sep 24th, 2014 6 Pages
Nurses and other health care providers are constantly challenged to make ethical decisions about life and death issues in providing care to individuals, families and communities. To be relevant and ethical, these decisions need to be considered in the broader context of personal, societal, cultural and professional values and ethical principles (Fry & Johnstone, 2002).

Tesfamicael GhebrehiwetThe nursing profession uses regulatory mechanisms, codes of ethics and other means to ensure ethical behavior. For example, The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses asserts, “Inherent in nursing is respect for human rights, including the right to life, to dignity and to be treated with respect” (ICN, 2000, p. 2).

To locate ethical issues within the
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These include:

The right to health and access to health care
End-of-life issues such as euthanasia and extending life
Quality of life for people with terminal illness
Cloning and reproduction
While these issues continue to attract public attention, they present nurses and other health care providers with real ethical dilemmas in their clinical practices and professional responsibilities. The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses (2000) affirms that nurses have four fundamental responsibilities:

Promoting health
Preventing illness
Restoring health
Alleviating suffering
As Fry and Johnstone (2002) have indicated, a nurse’s professional responsibilities can result in ethical conflict. Nurses’ responsibility to promote health is related to the basic right to health care enshrined in the constitutions of governments, the World Health Organization and the position statements of the International Council of Nurses. Yet, ethical questions often arise when promoting health. For example, providing contraceptive information to a woman whose religious beliefs disapprove their use can test the nurse’s ability to promote health.

Nursing responsibility in disease prevention is supported by ethical concepts of advocacy and caring, but that responsibility can conflict with ethical principles of privacy and confidentiality. For example, a nurse who is aware of a man who refuses to tell his partner of his HIV-positive status faces an ethical dilemma, as

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