Moral Dilemmas

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    when a patient presents with something that is in conflict with your own moral code, how do you best handle the situation and meet your professional obligation to care for the patient?
  2. 31 Comments so far...

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    Example?
    happyhelpert likes this.
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    One example might be an OB nurse who does not agree with GLBT lifestyle but has a lesbian couple who are going to have a baby.

    I am a writer and wanted to get some ideas of what nurses thought about the subject and get a dialoge going... what are your thoughts?
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    Remain professional. Nurses do not have to agree with lifestyles to provide adequate, or even superior care to their patients. There are many different backgrounds amongst people. This is somewhat of a vague question and difficult to answer without further elaboration.
    happyhelpert likes this.
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    I dont know if this is the type of example you are looking for, but I am sure I am not alone in doing admissions when I hear people tell me all of the herbs they are on. The lists never seem to end. Yet they interact with the prescription drugs they are taking , and they would rather ditch the scrips and continue on the herbs. So I have invested in an Herbal Guide for Nurses that I can photo copy pages out of for education purposes. Since the author of this book is not only an RN, but an herbaologist-they will believe what is in her book over me.

    As far as the lesbians in having a baby. The mother and baby are my patients. I dont care what goes on at home.

    Another gripe I have is new parents who want passes out to smoke, then all I can provide is education. I cant judge them for smoking, I can only educate them on the consequences of smoking.
    happyhelpert likes this.
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    Just my opinion - it shouldn't really matter. As a nurse I may disagree with one's lifestyle, but they are requiring care and as a nurse that is my duty. It shouldn't matter if I don't agree with their lifestyle.

    A sitation that recently happened to a family member: My cousin and her husband just had a baby. (my cousin is white and her husband is mexican) My cousin was filling out some papers and asked the nurse if she would consider her baby girl 'Mexican-American' or just 'American'. The nurse replied with " I don't know, I think whites should be with whites, blacks with blacks and mexicans with mexicans. So, I don't know." I was ablsolutely apauled when I heard this! How does this nurse even have a job! We as nurses are NOT to show aproval or disaproval of this type of thing. And to make it even better - this was at a CATHOLIC hospital! Now my point - is this nurse voicing her opinions going to help or hinder the care that is given? A nurse should be aware of any strong feels and be able to know how that feeling, opinion or belief is going to affect the care that they give. They also need to be able to take care of people and NOT have it affect the care that they are giving. I know that it may be hard for some certain things. I myself have faced this type of situation (had to take care of a pedifile) and it is not always easy.
    Last edit by onyx77 on Feb 25, '08
    happyhelpert likes this.
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    The most common dilema I come across is people who abuse drugs who come in time and again with life threatening problems. I nursed one who was a prostitute and lost first one leg then the other after injecting into the groin. At first glance these type of people are "low-life" (not my personal opinion) but if you care to look a little deeper it can be really sad - they have often been abused and introduced to this life style by people who should be looking out for them - sometimes their parents!
    The only situation I remember being in that really upset me was when I was a student and worked on a gynae ward and women would come in for terminations. I had to help wheel one woman to theatre and I felt choked and had a hard time not crying - I wanted to ask the woman to reconsider - she looked so unhappy and I do think about her even today and wonder if she regretted her decision. She was terminating because she had taken a course of antibiotics when she didn't know she was pregnant and I think it was her husband putting pressure on her.
    It is best not to judge individuals and I always try not to dislike the person - I can hate what they do, but not them - I hope this comes across in my dealings with patients??
    happyhelpert likes this.
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    You really just have to not worry about what the home lifestyle is, unless it is a dangerous situation, and do your job professionally. It is really none of our business if they are a homosexual or heterosexual. We are there to provide for their physical needs.
    happyhelpert likes this.
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    We cover ethics quite often in school and out. Moral conflicts are more like personal opinion. (as you can tell from the above posts.) Personal opinion has low priority with most nurses.
    happyhelpert likes this.
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    Even though I"m just a widdle student, I have come across this ample times. As a Catholic I'm against birth control, but am often asked for education on the methods, I'm also against pre-marital sex, but people are going to do it whether I like it or not, so I just offer education or tell them where to get education, I don't actually hand out BC. I have much lesser conscience pangs discussing BC then I know I would if a lady got pregnant because she didn't have access to said BC and you dont' have to be a genius or an OBGYN to figure out what most people do if theyr'e pregnant when they don't want to be.

    As for homosexuality, I have gay friends, and they know how I feel, but it doesn't mean I'm nasty about it, I give out education, or where to get said education and let people do what they want, since they're not going to do what I want. Plus, I think, if this was my best friend [who's a lesbian] would I want her being treated like this?

    The way I look at it, is Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prosititutes without judging them, if he can, then I better gosh darn try. Its all about the do unto others thing. Professionalism just happens to be the extension of that into the not-personal life.


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