The Importance of Teaching Medical Ethics or Bioethics in Nursing Schools

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    My purpose on typing this thread is to awaken every nursing students in the importance of bioethics. How well does this subject being teached in our local nursing schools? i have no idea but one incident awakened me and thats what we call here in the philippines " the cebu cannister scandal ". First i just like to ask what would an ideal nurse look like? how should an ideal nurse act?? how does our actions reflect our personalities as nurses?? there are rules and bounds in the nursing practice. rules that we must follow and bounds that we must not dare cross. there was an incident last year that put a big question on the moral ethics of some nursing proffesionels and as well as some medical proffesionels alike. a guy was rushed to a hospital with a cannister stuck in his privates. how did it get there? i have no idea. obviously its not supposed to be in there and since it was stuck in his privates it would be pretty obvious how did it get there. are we supposed to mind the whole story? how did it happen? yes of course but only for medical purposes so that we would also know how to treat it effectively. as the guy was rushed in the o.r the usual nurses , nursing students and doctors were present but as it turned out they were carrying their camera phones with them and started taking shots of the unconscious guy on the operating table. if the purpose of those shots are for medical purposes only that would be valid but they started mocking and laughing at the guy. all of them nurses, nursing students and shockingly together with the doctors. so if you would ask what are those camera shots intended for they are obviously not for medical records but for youtube they didn't just took photos but they also took some videos and uploaded the whole thing on youtube. the whole mockery was caught on video. isn't the o.r supposed to be private?.....after the incident all of them were suspended because the guy filed a complaint. but its just so sad because it could have been prevented if they just followed rules and known medical ethics more.
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    You have to be professional but with all the cameras around it is easy to see a situation as funny. It is unfortunately just too tempting to some people. We have had the same thing occur at our hospital. No matter what you do, someone will continue to take photos of stuff line that and it will get around the internet. Diane
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    The example you mention is one of people clearly not thinking ethically at all. Either that, or their morals are completely self-centered; a distinct, though disturbing possibility.

    You confuse the issue, however. You mention breaking rules and exceeding boundaries. That may be illegal (or less, it may be only breaking employer's requirements); but it isn't necessarily unethical. Consider Thoreau's musings on Civil Disobediance, for instance. Or the new movie coming out, Valkyrie. I would certainly argue that those who attempted to assassinate Hitler the evildoer were acting in a morally commendable manner while clearly breaking laws that most of their fellow citizens lacked the conscience or courage to rebel against. So, law and regulation does not equal ethics and morality. Their imperatives are usually different in contemporary society.

    My impression after reading several threads here, and stirring the pot once or twice, is that many of our colleagues have little or no education in ethical thinking and moral application. Many of us seem to park at the door our responsibility to make choices based on moral application. Many of us advocate positions in discussion without providing a shred of ethical rationale. Many of us base our moral positions on what feels good, or 'seems right' without any consistent articulated ethical principles and methodologies. Many of us retreat into rather simplistic thinking instead of recognizing and confronting the complexities of ethical thinking and moral choices and applications.

    Part of the problem, though, is that neither a society nor an institution can legislate or require that people want and work to be moral beings. I certainly think that ethics should be a constant part of any education where we are significantly impacting lives and outcomes. An employer can even tell prospective employees 'we subscribe to certain applied morals and require that our employees do the same within these walls.' Many religion-based hospitals and clinics used to do just that. But teaching 'bioethics' presupposes that we have some understanding of everyday ethics. Teaching an ethical specialty presupposes that we have some knowledge and understanding of applying ethical thinking and action as a cognitive activity in general. I contend that most of us lack the 'prereqs', the knowledge of general ethics and morals. Not just that people subscribe to different or various ethical systems and appplications; but that many of us don't consciously and cognitively apply any particular consistent articulated ethics and morals.

    I am not suggesting that we lack moral concern. I am arguing that we most often choose moral positions based on intuition rather than cognition.
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    Personally, I think this thread would better fit over at General Discussions.


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