Utilitarianism In Nursing Ethics

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Utilitarianism and Deontology are two major ethical theories that influence nursing practice. Utilitarian principles of promoting the greatest good for the greatest amount of people parallels the nursing tenet of beneficence. Deontological principles of treating individuals with dignity, and promoting the well-being of the individual parallels the nursing tenet of non-maleficence. Utilitarian and Deontological principles can be utilized to resolve ethical dilemmas that arise in the nursing profession. The purpose of this paper is to define utilitarianism and deontology, discuss the similarities and differences between the two, and to address an ethical dilemma utilizing utilitarian and deontological principles.
Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism …show more content…

Hypothetical imperatives are duties that people ought to observe if certain ends are to be achieved. Categorical imperatives are the absolute and universal laws that guide moral actions. Kant believed that moral actions must be based on unconditional reasoning. Kant’s deontological principles of hypothetical imperatives and categorical imperatives have significantly influenced the medical field.
Deontology and Utilitarianism are similar in that the tenets of each aims at promoting the well-being of others by doing good. However, there are several differences between Deontology and Utilitarianism. Deontology focuses on the moral intention of an act. Utilitarianism focuses on the consequences of an action. Deontological approaches focus on the morality of an action on an individual basis. Utilitarian approaches attempt to achieve the greatest good for the greatest amount of …show more content…

Soft paternalism is the use of paternalism to protect people from their own involuntary conduct (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013). Hard paternalism involves the implementation of interventions with the intent to prevent harm to a person, despite the fact that the person’s risky choices and actions are informed, voluntary, and autonomous. Beauchamp and Childress (2013) address five justifiable reasons to practice hard paternalism: (a) if a patient is at risk of a significant preventable harm, (b) if the paternalistic action will likely prevent harm, (c) if the prevention of harm to the patient outweighs risks to the patient of the action taken, (d) if there is no morally better alternative to the limitation of autonomy that occurs, and, (e) if the least autonomy-restrictive alternative that will secure the benefits is utilized. Examples of paternalism include laws requiring seatbelts, speed limits, proper car seats for infants and children,

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