Nursing Ethics Position Paper

Nurse’s infection control measures in order to encourage ethical thoughtfulness and proactive ethical action

1. Introduction

Nursing is among the most trusted professions in the world, however the trust that patients have on the nurses has lead to the spread of many infections especially when the nurses are working with the infected persons. According to Silva, &, Ludwick (2006), there is a significant correlation between patient care outcome and ethical consideration such that when nurses apply ethical framework when delivering care, the patient are likely to recover faster than when ethics is not observed. This paper argues that ethics is an important variable in positive patient care outcome.

2. Ethics in palliative care

According to McSteen, &, Peden-McAlpine (2006), the nurses play an important role in palliative care, therefore, they must play their role as advocates especially when dealing with the ethically difficult hospital circumstances (259-269). Should rest when sick, prevent disease infection to nurses, discuss and act towards infections and care for ourselves irrespective of the possible risks. This trust is an ethical responsibility of the nurses, which they have to meet.

The most important nursing duty is to care for the patients. However, the nurses are also exposed to the patient with varied toes of infectious diseases. This puts the nurses at risk of infection and at risk of becoming disease carries. For example, Sweeney, Abu, &, Winn. (2013) argue that during SARS and Ebolla, there were many nurses that got infected and ended up infecting the patients. The fact that nurses are knowledgeable mean that they are can easily understand their health condition and the impact if their health conditions on the patient and the other hospital stakeholder including their families.

Nurses should be health conscious and it is an ethical obligation not to spread their infection to the patient and other stakeholder because they have a ditty of care and an ethical implication. It is their duty to ensure that the patient is informed about their health conditions. The hospital administration should also be able to allow the sick nurses to take leave and when they fall sick. This may not only help prevent spreading infection but also helps the nurses to recover at peace at home.

3. Working sick

Failure to report to work because one is feeling unwell or becoming ill at the work place is among the most outstanding issues at work. Nurse turnover is caused by unbearable working conditions or sicknesses. From this, it is important to assume that no nurse is willing to take care of the patient’s problem. Therefore, if the nurses fail to report to work or even call in sick, hospital should try to understate the underlying causes of such turn because without taking necessary measures, they might lose the patients and the nurses,. patient may feel neglected when unattended to and that is both unprofessional and unethical. There are challenges that seem to remain being that many will always report to work due to fear of losing payments. In the faculty of education, a member wakes up even if he or she is ill and thinks of what to do. Failure to attend the clinical sessions would automatically make patients miss their prescription. Either way, nurses should be able to appoint other nurses to carry out their patient care duty till they are fully recovered before returning to duty. Because of this, it is important determine what ethical framework to apply when a nurse is either sick, overworked, or has other issues that might affect their service delivery. On this note, it is important for nurses to make their decision base don the relevant ethical framework.

4. Proactive ethical actions

Nurses’ advocate argue that nurses shoals be ready to resign if the hospital administration expects or force them to work under pressure, or strenuous conditions . sometimes, judgment can be wrong and errors can be making when one is not in the right frame of mind. Nurses have a right to say no because by agreeing to work under strenuous conditions, they jeopardize the lives if the patients. In case our suggestion were true, it would still remain very difficult to take care of the work shortages, resources which vary from one country to another, operation of policies and the other challenges. These challenges provide the base of nurse’s dilemmas towards the ethical practice. The competing emerging issues make the process of performing their duties become full of distress and thus should be addressed by the administration at an individual level. In the area of nursing practice, example of a challenge from one area of nursing practice for which reason the hospital administration should call upon the attention of the nursing fraternity to ethically reflect on their duty.

5. Protection of Patients and Self-defense from Disease

Hand washing is the primary step in the event of ensuring we do not suffer from infection, a preventive measure we would wish to consider based on the administrative position. Assume to be the patients’ nursing administrator and caring for the services in a given health institution in which the vacancy rate of RN is 20%. Nurses come to realize that they spend much of your energy in trying to solve the problem. The “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” instill cognizance in the nurses that they do not have to supervise” performance indicators that the CDC recommends in relation to washing of hands, Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings (Boyce & Pittet, 2002). It is essential to realize the importance of understaffing in the outbreak of diseases. This will appear a brainstorming session for the nurse in question.

6. Monitoring and Speaking About Practices

For a long time, nurses have been advocates for patients that have taken many forms including book or letter writing. Basing argument on a clinician’s perspective, we will consider an example of a nurse working part-time in a nursing home whose bed capacity is a hundred and fifty. A new policy, which the residents and their families will implement, provides the basis of memo circulation to give the background information about the flu vaccination. Apart from giving such information, the condition of offering the vaccination must be in line with “Medicare and Medicaid”. However, it is not sufficiently sensible in that the employees get the flu vaccinations at a price. The report to the Director of Nursing (DON) whose title was “Influenza Vaccination of Health-Care Personnel” recommended free flu vaccination and service to the employees.(Pearson, Bridges, & Harper, 2006). The DON being new, fails to mention the report to the administrator. The report is interested in the ethical issues, moral justification of one’s decision and the effect of the nurse’s decision on the administrator or the educator of students.

7. Providing Care is an ethical Obligation to the sick and and a Self

Many are anxious and fear for themselves in the attempt to care for patients or one’s family due to the risk of the disease on which note exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SIRS) is a recent and public example. SIRS has many impacts on healthcare workers (Stone, Clarke, Cimiotti, & Correa-de-Araujo, 2004). However, care on daily basis has potential episodes to exposure that people do not take into consideration. Let us consider a case in the hospital in which you are the senior student nurse. The student is interested in taking care of a patient yet do not know the disease causing the suffering even though there is worry that it is likely to be SARS. We realize that no hospitality policy exists on this matter since you rather express your worry about the patient’s safety to the student. The student will decline the assignment by arguing that there is no way he or she can take care of the patient yet completed education without having a chance to do so. As an administrator or the student educator, therefore, you must understand the ethical issues, justify your decision, and evaluate the impact of the decision of the preceptor. Increasingly attention has focused on infectious disease and its implications for the safety of the public and the safety of workers

8. Ethical principles guiding nursing care delivery

8.1 Utilitarian Virtue

According to the utilitarianism, nurses should pursue the actions that maximize the good of the masses. The fact that nurse are exposed to various patient and work under strenuous conditions mean that the jars are at high risk of misdiagnosing medical condition, wrong prescription or mistreat the patients. Ethically, the nurses are expected by the society, and by law to ensure that their patriots are properly taken care of and the nursing code of ethics followed to the later. However, if the nurses are faced with a dilemma, they should pursue the approaches that maximize the good. They should aim at protecting many, and not just themselves. This means that nurses should be ready to lose their jobs than expose the patient other infection.

8.2. The Principles of Beneficence and Nonmaleficence

Apart from the utilitarianism, it is also important to understand the fact that many palliative care and as well awes the nurse who provided these forms of care are constantly in contact with the patient. it is quite reassuring that the nurses can provide care. however, at what price? Will the nurses risk their life as well as those of the patients?.

The ethical principle of beneficence argues that nurses must always promote the welfare of the other people and the other people include the patients. The healthcare professional should therefore ensure that they are medically fit before interacting with the patient. They accepted the duty to ensure that the patients are well, therefore, they are ethically required to m maximize patient health and not expose them to diseases (hospital acquired infection). Secondly, it is also important for the nurses to ensure that the care they provide does not violate the patient rights. Despite the risks inherent in medical therapies, the nurses should ensure that their approach in delivering health care minimizes medical therapy risk and maximize patient care outcome. Nurses should not only be cautious, but also diligent, and thoughtful while delivering care.

Equally, because the nurses are required to deal with the patients in a way that does not cases the patient needless harm. It is also important to note that the hospitals are also held to specific ethical framework and standards such that n their ethical obligation is not only to the patients, but also to support the nurses who are their staff members. Howe can they do this?, the hospital needs to have in place policies that govern working, work processes, patient-staff relationship and nurses health, both the hospital and the nurses should promote quality healthcare. All the accredited hospitals, are under obligation to meet the ethical standards set by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). These standards include effective pain management, patient care, excusal decision making frameworks, as well as long term care. Hospitals on the other hand, must demonstrate their dedication to delivering quality care, and implementing evidence based care processes when delivering patient care. Many hospital are increasingly becoming patient centered as a way to pushing their nurses to focus on the positive patient are outcomes. Because of this reason, the patient who are assisted into hospitals should not be attended to by nurses who are stressed, sick or are not qualified to work, and nurses should be allowed to say when they are not ready to work because medical care requires expert nurses care

9. Conclusion

In conclusion, the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence and utilitarianism require that nurses to uphold patient care. These principles not only form the ethical framework under which the nurses should work, but also dictates what nurses should do when faced with ethical dilemma. To the nurses, when they are not in a good condition to work, they should say why they are not ready to work when sick. Nurses can avoid harm both to themselves and to the patients. The nurses should always seek to take actions that benefit the patients irrespective of their stages of illness. It is also important for the hospital management to ensure that they have in place policies, program and practices aimed at providing quality patient centered care. On the other hand, the nurse should focus on beneficent patient centered care that minimizes unnecessary harm on the patient, there are other codes of ethics such as patient autonomy that must be observed by the nurses.

10. Conclusion

In conclusion, the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence and utilitarianism require that nurses to uphold patient care. These principles not only form the ethical framework under which the nurses should work, but also dictates what nurses should do when faced with ethical dilemma. To the nurses, when they are not in a good condition to work, they should say why they are not ready to work when sick. Nurses can avoid harm both to themselves and to the patients. The nurses should always seek to take actions that benefit the patients irrespective of their stages of illness. It is also important for the hospital management to ensure that they have in place policies, program and practices aimed at providing quality patient centered care. On the other hand, the nurse should focus on beneficent patient centered care that minimizes unnecessary harm on the patient, there are other codes of ethics such as patient autonomy that must be observed by the nurses.

11. References

Mann, J, (1999). “Medicine and Public Health, Ethics and Human Rights” in Dan E. Beauchamp and Bonnie Steinbock, New Ethics for the Public’s Health, Oxford University Press,

Murphy, C. (2006). The 2003 SARS outbreak: Global challenges and innovative infection control measures. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, Vol. #11, No. #1, Manuscript Available:www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume112006/No1Jan06//tpc29_516064.aspx

Stone, P.W., Clarke, S., Cimiotti, J., & Correa-de-Araujo, R. (2004). Nurses’ working conditions: Implications for infectious disease. CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol 10, No. 11.

Garland, Michael, (2001). “The Oregon Health Plan Ten Years Later: Ethical Questions and Political Answers” in Erich H. Loewy and Roberta Springer Loewy, Eds. Changing health Care Systems from Ethical, Economic, and Cross Cultural Perspectives, Plenum Publishers,

McSteen K, &, Peden-McAlpine c, (2006). “The Role of Nurse as Advocate in Ethically Difficult Care Situations with Dying Patients,” Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing 8, no. 5 259-269. Cited in Rice and Betcher, 144.

Silva, M., &, Ludwick R., (2006). Ethics Column: “What Would You Do? Ethics and Infection Control” Online Journal of Issues in NursingVol. 12 No. 1

DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol12No01EthCol01

Sweeney, L., Abu, A., and J. Winn. (2013). Identifying participants in the personal genome project by name. Data Privacy Lab, Harvard University.

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