Nursing Ethical Issues

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Organisation has defined ethics in healthcare as being ‘concerned with moral principles, values and standards of conduct’ (WHO, 2015, p.10). Numerous ethical matters can arise within the healthcare realm. These may be related but not exclusive to the delivery of care, professional veracity, data handling, the utilisation of human subjects in research, and the employment of new controversial practices (WHO, 2015). Nurses are accountable to the public and therefore are greatly regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) and the International Council of Nursing (ICN). Through codes of conduct and ethics these regulatory bodies legally obligate nurses to acquire four central responsibilities: ‘to promote health, to prevent illness,…show more content…
The value of non-maleficence, or, ‘to do no harm’ prohibits the infliction of harm and is correlated to effective pain management, as poorly managed pain causes harm to the patient. This harm includes anxiety, and possibly depression, related to suffering pain. By failing to reasonably treat a patient in pain, this results in harm. Persistent inadequately treated pain has both physical and psychological influences on the patient (Brennan, Carr & Cousins, 2007). Failing to act is a form of abandonment according to Carr (2001). The World Health Organisation defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. Ineffective pain management would contradict this definition of health; hence the provision of adequate pain management is imperative to high quality patient care. Pain which is untreated can delay healing and lead to cardiac, respiratory and endocrine complications (Brennan, Carr, & Cousins, 2007). Conversely, it could be argued that the principle of non-maleficence is upheld when morphine is not prescribed. By commencing Anna on the morphine there is potential for harm which could leave Anna in a poorer state of
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