Registered Nurse: Ethical Issues In Nursing

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As a registered nurse, we face ethical issues every day. Some days we understand the clear cut ethical issue at hand; however, other ethical issues can be disguised. In my year and half of being an RN I have come across many ethical issues. As mentioned before, some are clear cut and others are hard to tread through. Initially, these ethical issues can make you question your job; however, after some reflection I believe these issues make us stronger nurses. One of the biggest ethical issues I have had to face recently was a patient who was being abused by his “family.” On our floor we regularly see hip fracture patients. Upon the start of my shift, one of my hip fracture patients was clearly emaciated. His ribs were obviously sticking out, …show more content…

He had a traumatic brain injury that had occurred from a fall. He had been in critical care for over a month. They had taken him off the ventilator with the expectation that he would die. They did not expect him to start breathing on his own again. However, he had continued to breathe on his own for two weeks before he was transferred to our unit. Upon further assessment, he was “brain dead.” His other organs were trying to shut down. He was on every antibiotic imaginable, he had a PEG tube, and could no longer keep his body temperature regulated correctly. His ex-wife was making all of the decisions for him, even though the patient’s kids were disagreeing with his care. The patient’s kids wanted to let their dad go peacefully (no more PEG tube, no antibiotics, etc.). However, the ex-wife still remained the patient’s healthcare power of attorney after their divorce had taken place. I believe this was because the ex-wife was a registered nurse. The patient was constantly on a bear hugger or a cooling blanket. Finally, the ethics committee got involved. Multiple physicians, as well as the family were present. Each family member stated what they wanted for the patient. The ex-wife refused to believe the doctors that her ex-husband was dying. She believed that god would heal the patient. A week later he died. In the end, no one got what they wanted and it was a sad

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