Ethical Principles

Ethical Principles

Ethical principle provides a basis for nursing practice that define the basis for decisions taken by nurses through considering consequences and moral principles when making clinical decisions. The principle is set to respect the value of life. The basic ethical principles include nonmaleficence, beneficence, respect for autonomy and justice. According to the American Nurse Association the fundamental principle in the nursing profession is the respect for a person both in the clinical setting andall life situations. Respecting patient rights, choices and values arerespecting the person’s autonomy.  To promote respect in a clinical setting consent method is used. Nonmaleficence principle is set to avoid deliberate harm occurring when performing nursing action, and to determine whether technology use can provide benefits that outweigh the risk involved (Benner, Tanner &Chesla, 2009, p. 150).

The movie Outbreak focuses on the ethical issues and how the characters in the film protects others from harm. In the movie, a deadly infectious disease is brought in the United States and contained in a small town in California. The disease has the capacity of wiping out the entire nation in a very short time. Therefore without a cure for the disease the US government must make a critical decision on the way forward in order to save and protect the rest of the country from being infected with the disease. The government is trapped by the issue of ethics on whether to kill people to protect the whole country from being wiped out completely by the deadly infection.

The outbreak movie opens in the Motaba River valley, Zaire where mercenary camp is attacked by the deadly hemorrhagic fever. McClintock and Ford,who are General in the United States,use thebomb to wipe out the entire population in the camp in order to keep the virus as a secret and prevent the disease from spreading to other people.This decision is unethical and unjustified as it undermines human life in the name of protecting the larger population from been infected. The decision also will deny medical personnel from carrying outresearch to understand and develop a cure for the disease and cover up the discovery. This is against ethnic principles that advocate for compassion, desire to do good taking positive actions to help others.

Colonel Sam Daniel together with his crew Major Kasey Schuler and Major Salt an experienced military doctorare sent to Motabato investigate the effects of the hemorrhagic fever. They realize that the virus is spread through water and is not airborne as they thought earlier. The crew also realizes that the disease kills in a few days,and the mortality rate is 100 percent. Despite the virus being considered scariest Sam understands that,the disease can be contained and attempt to convince his commander General Ford to issue the alert from the findings. Ford refuses to issue the alert arguing that the virus spread very fast to the people around. Ford goes against the principle of respecting the autonomy by not informing people on the finding that gave a new understanding of the disease (Moe, Kvig, Brinchmann&Brinchmann, 2013, p. 520).

The infection outbreak occurs in Cedar Creek and Boston, in California. The outbreak is controlled in Boston while, in Cedar Creek,a horrible outbreak occurs because the virus in Cedar is airborne. Sam, Robby, Salt and Kasey desperately find the host animal to find cures for the disease. Unfortunately, Robby and Kasey got infected in the process. The host animal is found later by Sam and Salt. They discover that the U.S military is not concerned with saving people in Cedar Creek, because the military has convinced the president to bomb Cedar Creek to save the powerful people in the country. The president is not informed about the anti-serum,and he assumes that the only way to save the country and prevent millions of deaths is through bombing.  Bombing the city is unnecessary for public health reasons because later the virus is contained. The clean sweep is unjustified under the Social Compact theory as it was unreasonable. Ethical principle is violated because bombing will harm many people and the impact will bring more suffering to the people. This is contrary to the ethical principles that argue that it is the responsibility of the people to protect others from harm.


Benner, P. E., Tanner, C. A., &Chesla, C. A. (2009). Expertise in nursing practice: caring,            clinical judgment & ethics. Springer Publishing Company.

Moe, C., Kvig, E., Brinchmann, B., &Brinchmann, B. (2013). ‘Working behind the scenes’           an ethical view of mental health nursing and first-episode psychosis. Nursing Ethics,   20(5), 517-527. Doi: 10.1177/0969733012458607



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