Pertinent Ethical Issues

  1. [B] Ok, I have a question for all the nurses out there. I am a nursing student in my last semester of school. We were given an assignment to research a pertinent legal or ethical issue in nursing. There are a few that interest me but I wanted some input from you guys. "What is the most prevelant ethical issue you encounter?" Thank you for your help, I will post the ideas I have brainstormed soon.
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    About nursenatalie

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 203; Likes: 14
    RN, surgical floor


  3. by   Sleepyeyes
    Relatives overriding a pt's Living Will or DNR.....

    putting in G-Tubes or Venting pts that never wanted to be....

    it's very distressing to have to take care of these pts because in some cases, they're aware of all this stuff happening to them on some level, but really too sick to express their own desires.
  4. by   nursenatalie
    Thank you sleepyeyes! We only just learned in class last week that family has the right to override a living will! It seems to make the living will obsolete!?

    I Appreciate your input...our group has discussed the issue of Nursing Strike= Patient Abandonment? and
    "Slow Codes"
    When we presented the idea of "slow codes" to our teacher she dismissed it saying that it is illegal. It still happens...therefore it is an issue, right?
  5. by   emmRN
    One ethical situation I have come across that drives me crazy is when the docs aren't completely honest with the pts, or offer them false hope.
  6. by   nursenatalie
    I agree emm... I have been in a situation when a family insists that a diagnosis not be disclosed to a patient. The doctor went along with the family's request but did stipulate that if the patient asked him about Ca directly he would tell the truth. "Someone" told the patient to talk to the doctor about his diagnosis.
  7. by   nursenatalie
    Anyone have any information on "slow codes"????... a fellow classmate. They are of course "off the books" She said that certain patients whose family kept them at full code status, or those without family, who were coding on a regular basis were given a slow motion code or late code...not saying I agree with it, and dont wanna know if anyone was involved in one, but is anyone else aware that this occurs?
    Last edit by nursenatalie on Jan 20, '03
  8. by   nursenatalie
    I was also wondering if anyone knew of any good websites or searchable journals with information related to ethics? I have found a few but if anyone else can recommend a good one I would appreciate it
  9. by   researchrabbit
    Poor informed consent process.
  10. by   renerian
    Yes we had slow codes, not that they in reality were supposed to exist. The kind with bone CA where your break all their ribs with one push.........


  11. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    How about keeping a brain-dead teenager on life support for more than a week so that the family can "celebrate" their 16th birthday with them before they die? I've seen this happen twice.

    Or those ethnic/cultural groups who are willing and ready to undergo organ transplantation but would NEVER allow a family member to be a donor out of cultural conviction. What a paradox (I'm trying to be kind here).

    And then there's putting an infant on ECMO after more than 2 hours of continuous resuscitation. What are we saving them for? To watch them seize for days until the family is ready to let them go?

    Ethics... what a difficult concept to wrap one's head (and heart) around.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    how bout the everlasting quest to keep super-preemies alive at all costs, iespecially the emotional ones to the parents? the assault going on daily in the NICU's to save paper-skinned iron-lunged 23-24 weekers is what I am talking about.......often against the wishes of parents who would be willing to let such children pass.
  13. by   nimbex
    again, the relatives overriding DNR status, but even worse to keep collecting the social security benefits...

    Those that keep "loved ones" alive to receive checks.....

  14. by   llg
    If you really want to open up Pandora's box, why not go for some issues related to nursing rather than medical decisions? It's the docs that decide when to use extrordinary measures, etc. The nurse rarely is the one making the decision. Why not address some of the issues that nurses control?

    That's a harder list to come up with. Here are a couple:

    1. Nurses who sleep on night shift (now being discussed on another thread)

    2. Nurse-patient relationships that become non-therapeutic. Sometimes nurses get attached to patients (e.g. pediatrics) and start to come between the parents and the child.

    3. The morality of refusing an assignment.

    4. The ethics of under-staffing.

    etc. These are NURSING issues that nurses face every day. In many of the examples listed above, the nurses are dealing with the situations every day, but they are not making the decisions. If you want to explore those issues, you should consider the nursing role in the situation. If not, you may as well be writing a medical ethics paper.

    Nursing ethics and medical ethics are not exactly the same.