Professional Roles and Values of Nursing
Medical practitioners are faced with specific issues related to medical ethics in their day-to-day delivery of care and decision-making. Ethical principles have, over the years, played a crucial role in the decision-making processes of these medical practitioners. Medical ethics itself is based on ethical principles relevant to patient care and medical practice. The principles of this medical ethics make positive contributions to the decision-making process and patient care in medical context (Summers & Morrison, 2009). These principles tend to offer approaches that tackle ethical dilemmas that arise in the practice of medicine, interacting with both the patients and their families and even making difficult health decisions. They provide a way of thinking about ethical issues in the delivery of healthcare.
From the case provided, my decision to Mr. Newcomb’s request, regardless of my view on the request, would be to allow him to see his mistress. This decision would be influenced by the application of ethical principles and the rights Mr. Newcomb has as a patient under hospice care.
As a medical practitioner, it is important to understand that medicine itself is an ethical enterprise. All patient, regardless of if they are under hospice care or not have the right to make specific decisions regarding the care they need. As a medical practitioner, it is also important to act in the best interest of Mr. Newcomb. This should revolve around the prevention or the removal of harm and the promotion of good for the patient. Relevant “good” to be promoted in this case should include the well-being of the patient, proper health and the proper functioning of the patient. This is the principle of beneficence. The fact that Mr. Newcomb’s request does not cause any harm to his health and the fact that medical practitioners are to act in the best interests of their patients are some of the factors that influenced my decision on his request (Parahoo, 2014).
Another element important in the decision I make for this case is the fact that medical practitioners should not harm their patients (non-maleficence). The request made by Mr. Newcomb may promote his well even with the fact that he is under hospice care (Parahoo, 2014). The refusal to adhere to his request may on the other hand negatively impact on his life. With this, therefore it is important to allow him to see his mistress for a few hours as requested.
Capable patients also have the right to accept, refuse recommended medical interventions, and also make specific decisions regarding their health (autonomy). As defined in nursing, autonomy revolves around the patient’s capacity to make specific decisions. Even with the fact that Mr. Newcomb’s health has deteriorated since his decision to be placed under hospice care, he is still capable of making his own decision. In this case, he decides to see his mistress before his death. An important element, in this case, is also the fact that medical practitioners should respect the decisions made by their patients (Parahoo, 2014).
Medicine also calls for justice as an ethical principle in decision-making and the delivery of healthcare. The principle of justice refers to giving patients what they are due. This is measured through fairness, need, and equality. Equality, in this case, refers to the role of the nurse to be available to render care to their patients and also educate their patients on what’s available for them. The underlying concept of this principle is also need. Patients should be able to deliver what their patients need with equality. This means that with the fact that Mr. Newcomb has the ability to make decisions, then as a medical practitioner, I have to respond to his needs regardless of my personal views on the request (Summers & Morrison, 2009).
Personal views in many instances tend to influence the decisions medical practitioners make in regard to their patient’s requests. These personal beliefs and values may result in decisions that may negatively impact on patients. Nurses should however, understand that the well-being of their patients and the ethical principles should guide their decisions. In this case, however, my personal beliefs and values were guided by the well-being of Mr. Newcomb and his well-being. Even with the moral perspectives that may arise from his request, ethical principles should guide the decisions made. Even with these, however, it is important for Mr. Newcomb to understand some of the consequences his request may have on their family.
Some of the most important strategies to promote self-care include effective communication, support and enable patients to access the most important information, and also ensure that patients are able to make informed choices and decisions (Blum, 2014). Communication enhances relationships between caregivers and patients. This, in turn, helps the patients develop and gain confidence to self-care. Support and enabling patients to access important information revolves around ensuring that patients have the most relevant information before making decisions. Ensuring that patients make informed choices and decisions, on the other hand, revolves around the other two strategies (Blum, 2014). Nurses in their delivery of healthcare should ensure that their patients are able to make informed decisions.
1. Blum, C. (2014). Practicing self-care for nurses: A nursing program initiative. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing.
2. Parahoo, K. (2014). Nursing research: principles, process and issues. Palgrave Macmillan.
3. Summers, J., & Morrison, E. (2009). Principles of healthcare ethics. Health Care Ethics. 2nd ed. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 41-58.