Animal Assisted Therapy - Nursing Ethics?

Nurses General Nursing



I am in my final semester of RN-BSN and have to write my Capstone paper on an ethical issue in nursing. I really want to tie in Animal Assisted Therapy but I am having a hard time figuring out how to fit this in with nursing ethics.

Can anyone help?


hmm...i dunno. i don't know if it helps any, but i actually heard a couple of patients just last week voicing their disgust about the pet therapy dogs. "i can't believe they let those nasty dogs in a HOSPITAL!" and "there's black dog hairs all over the place. people in here are sick."

i was surprised by that because i thought everybody loved the dogs!

Specializes in LTC.

I don't know if you are going to find enough cons to make a good ethics paper.

I'm more worried about my dog getting cooties from the facility, than my dog getting anyone sick.

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

Not every topic presents significant ethical dilemmas. I think you'd have to stretch this one pretty far to come up with anything worth writing about.

But who knows ... it's worth posting on a site like this one to see if anyone sees any ethical dilemmas in it ... maybe in the use of other animals for human benefit?

If you love animals, maybe you could summon up some enthusisam in another animal-related topic -- such as the use of animals in research. You could place the use of animals on a contimuum with those uses that knowingly causes harm to the animal (some researchH) at one end and the use of animals in a way that is less likely to hurt them (pet therapy) at the other. Your paper could then address the "Where should we draw the line?" question.

Specializes in Cath lab, acute, community.

We have volunteer pet therapy dogs come to the paediatric hospital I work at. They are specific dogs that are from an organisation and have requirements prior to visiting the hospital (such as a wash), and they have been checked by the organisation to be kid friendly, docile, have special hair (not long, molting hair) etc. They also cannot go on oncology floors or near immunosupressed patients, obviously. Always on a lead... etc.

We all know animals decrease stress, distract, decrease BP etc... I am sure there are papers somewhere on it. If you get stuck maybe ask organisations that have animal assistance programs for any studies they know of.

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