Sense of Duty Vs. Your Ethics

Nurses General Nursing


I need my fellow nurses experience in this matter.

Would you or would not work in area of Nursing that needed us, but was against what you believed in? For example: I will not work in plastic surg field, that gives this processors for looks. My wife informed me that I was a bad nurse, because I will not go into a field of Nursing that I do not believe in nor want to work in. So, my question is will you work against your ethics in a field that needs you, or do you follow you own set of ethics?


old-master has spoken...


118 Posts

Old Master from from an even older one.

There is nothing wrong with your moral stance there are nurses who will not work in abortion clinics that is their moral choice.However if you work in plastics surely some of the work done there must be corrective or reconstructive in nature these pts often need a lots more support than those who come to be made "BEAUTIFUL"


38 Posts

Actually, the fight my wife and I had was over abortion clinics and their lack of nurses and Doctors. I only used my objection to plastic surg has way to avoid a flame war over abortion. I was worried that was placing my own system of judgments and values onto the medical and nursing world. Thanks of your post.

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

Howdy yall

from deep in the heart of texas

Well old master, I dont see what your dilemna is. As wide open as nursing is, you dont have to work anything you wouldnt want too. You have too many options wherever you are. As far as abortion clinics, its up to what your beliefs are, If you are totally deadset against working in one, then dont. If you allow youreslf to be forced into it, then you are not taking good care of yourself, and by that you are not taking good care of your patients either.

I worked a smaller country OR in oklahoma, and shortly became the director of OR. My beliefs are against participating in abortions. I fpeople wanted them, as far as Im concerned they can do it. That is their right to believe. But after taking over the OR I put the law down, that there were to be absolutely no abortions done in my OR. Now some of the doctors tried to circumvent me, but they lost. The OR was my turf, and not even the hospital administrator interfered with that. I was there 3 years before I left, on my own accord by the way. so you see. You just do what you gotta do. And if you believe in something stand to your guns and fight for it.

keep it in the short grass yall


hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

I see no problem with that, or not choosing to do hospital nursing when I know there is a shortage there. I do Home Health, because I like it!

I wouldn't work in an abortion clinic, not b/c I'm pro-life...well, in a way, I am pro my own life, and I'm not about to risk it by being the target of some fanatical bomber, who wants to take out a clinic.

One of the good things about nursing is that there are lots of areas for people to work in without violating their personal principles.

I wouldn't work in an abortion clinic, either, but that doesn't make me a bad nurse. There are lots of nurses out there who are pro-choice who can do that job. I couldn't do justice to a job like that, due to my personal beliefs--that's what would make me a bad nurse, not giving it my best effort.

Some nurses won't work with blood products due to their beliefs. Some nurses won't work with transplant patients due to their beliefs. Some nurses won't work with children or addicts or the elderly due to their beliefs. As long as they can match up their belief system with their job description, there shouldn't be a problem. I know the nursing purists think that nurses are supposed to keep their personal values to themselves, and be all things to all people. But to me, that just means you don't proselytize, not that you leave your core ethics at the door. Don't take a job where you can't give 100%.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

97 Articles; 21,237 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Even though as a nurse we are to always give compassionate care, that doesn't mean going against your own ethics/morals. Personally, I work in a level I trauma center where people make many poor decisions that I personally disagree with (drinking/driving, beating up their children, having AIDS and being pregnant, etc..) However, I also firmly believe they are entitled to healthcare. So...I care for these people the best that I can and try to give a little education too.


487 Posts

it makes you a better nurse if you decide that you are too morally against or opinionated about a certain aspect of nursing.

why better? because at least you wont end up working in that area, become all bitter and force your views upon the patients who need you to be objective.

making a choice to steer clear of a certain area of nursing because you have personal objections and ethical concerns about it is smart , I can respect that, what I dont respect is nurses who at work,in whatever field try to thrust their moral and ethical views upon co workers, pts families and patients.


2,719 Posts

I think there is a diffrence between refusing to work in an abortion clinic and careing for an post abortion patient who came your floor in the hospital. I am sure you would care for the second with great compasion. As for the first. I believe it would be morally, wrong for you to work in an abortion clinic if you feel that abortion is wrong. AND I am pro choice and have volunteered in an abortion clinic prior to nuring school.

Shakespear put it best "to your own self be true" If you violate that you violate every good you might do by working in an abortion clinic. Never ever go against you moral values when you so clearly have a choice. The choice are not always so clear.

Most employers today support the nurse who has personal, spiritual and or religious values which could be violated by participating in certain procedures and activities. However, I think we have a responsibility not to put our selves in situations where we will frequently be expose to these things.

What about the nurse who believes it is murder to take a patient off a ventilator when they will probably die without it. This nurse needs to find some place to work other than ICU.

You may, though rarely, come across situations where you find yourself careing for an abortion pt. But consiously putting yourself in a situation where that is your day to day job....Well I would have to recomend you be committed to a psyc ward. As you either lost your mind or are just plain dangerous.


70 Posts

Old Master,

When it all comes out in the wash... you are the one who has to look in the mirror and face yourself. I think it is perfectly acceptable to refuse to work in an area that you don't morally support.

I respect everyone's right to refuse to do things that are against their personal convictions.... If this thread is indeed a variation of the abortion issue, then the shortage of nurses in that field may be a strong indication that many of us feel the same way about that topic... As another post pointed out, I would very willingly care for and support a post-abortion patient, but I would never consider participating in the abortion itself... That is my personal conviction, and that's my right to decide... I'll eat out of trash cans before I support my family with a job that I find morally dispicable.



6,620 Posts

I see nothing wrong with choosing not to participate in something you find morally objectionable. I do see something wrong in forcing it on others.

bagladyrn, RN

2,286 Posts

Specializes in OB.

I agree that you should not work in an area you find morally wrong. I would hope, though, that you would support the right of others to provide that care. Personally, I have gone to work extra shifts to care for a post abortion patient when the staff on duty did not feel comfortable doing so. I felt the need to do so, first for the patient who deserves nonjudgemental care at a difficult time, and also to support my co-workers in their right to their own beliefs

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