The professional practice of nursing entails various roles and duties that are guided by ethical principles. These values are imperative to ensure that the fundamental roles associated with this field of work are carried out within the defined moral boundaries. The most common task associated with the role of nurses is patient care and for this, they receive ample training. However, often a challenge may arise which requires nurses to apply the best of their judgment without compromising on patient care and well-being. In the given scenario, as a nurse, I would inform the patient, Mr. Newcomb, that although I enquired if there was anything else that I could do for him, his request does not fall into the scope of my role as a nurse. I would reiterate my duty to attend to the patient’s medical and psychological needs, my role as an advocate of patient’s health-related wishes, and my responsibility to educate them about their health condition. I would establish clearly that I would not be involved in the middle of a personal matter by lying to his wife.
Four main ethical principles guide nurses’ practice. These standards encompass the obligation of bringing benefit to the patient, preventing or minimizing harm, and respecting the preferences and values of the patient (Varkey, 2020). The principle of beneficence focuses on the responsibility of the health care provider to act for the benefit of others and to prevent all types of harm. I distanced myself from the patient’s personal affairs and applied the principle of beneficence by doing the right thing and not bringing harm to his wife by lying to her. The ramifications of this lie could have resulted in unrepairable damage to the relationship of husband and wife. This also directly relates to non-maleficence, which emphasizes the duty not to impose harm. Granting Mr. Newcomb’s wish would have harmed one or all of the parties involved, putting me in the middle of the whole situation. The principle of autonomy highlights the “right of competent people to make choices” (Cherry & Jacob, 2018). Mr. Newcomb is a capable adult who has the right to make his own decisions, however, while as a nurse, I am obligated to respect his choice related to his treatment, I am not obligated to grant his private wishes. Lastly, according to the principle of justice, patients must be provided with equitable, fair, and appropriate treatment, regardless of any other factors. This principle would be applied in my practice by ensuring that the same standard of care is provided to Mr. Newcomb and that the newly found information does not impact my perception of him (Varkey, 2020; McDermott-Levy, Leffers, & Maya, 2018).
As a nurse, one often comes across various situations that may give rise to an ethical debate, however, certain personal beliefs and values shape our responses to such incidents. The value that guides most of my dealings with other people is the importance of always being truthful. Mr. Newcomb’s request went against my belief, prompting me to lie. Moreover, I believe in treating other people with dignity and respect, while doing the honorable thing. I firmly believe that by agreeing to fulfill Mr. Newcomb’s wishes, I would be disrespecting his wife, harming her dignity, and damaging my professional honor.
Self-care is an important aspect of nursing that can be applied to prevent burnout. It is also a method of coping with the rigorous demand of daily life. The self-care strategies that I apply are yoga and meditation, cleaning my home, and learning a new skill i.e., pottery. Cherry and Jacob identified staying hydrated, being organized, and following a sleep schedule as some methods of self-care (Cherry & Jacob, 2018).
Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. (2018). Contemporary Nursing: Issues, Trends, & Management. Mosby.
McDermott-Levy, R., Leffers, J., & Maya, J. (2018). Ethical Principles and Guidelines of Global Health Nursing Practice. Nursing Outlook, 66(5), 473-481.
Varkey, B. (2020). Principles of clinical ethics and their application to practice. Medical Principles and Practice, 30, 17-28.