Nursing Leadership 10: Ethical dilemmas

Nursing Leadership 10

Ethical dilemmas are common in the contemporary health care settings. According to Morrison and Furlong, (2014) an ethical dilemma in health care sector refers to a situation in which the personal and professional values of an individual conflict with patient’s demands for care. As such, the nurse is torn between surrendering to the demands of the patient and upholding the professional obligations. In essence, in this discussion, I aim at identifying a scenario that depicts an ethical dilemma and analyzing it to enhance further understanding of this issue.

A befitting example of an ethical dilemma is a situation in which a patient wishes the nurse to stop intervening in the event of worsening condition and yet he/she has not signed an advanced care directive to indicate such preferences. The nurse is at the crossroads given that despite knowing the need for respecting patient’s autonomy, he/she also has a professional obligation of upholding beneficence. Beneficence demands that a nurse engages in activities that epitomize doing good always (Ozolins & Grainger, 2015). In this case acting to save the life of the patient demeans his/her right to autonomy. As such, the nurse is in a dilemma on which way to follow as he/she seeks to correct the situation.

In closure, a practical solution for such situations exists and is worth noting. In such a scenario, a nurse ought to rely on his/her professional standards. That is the case given that abiding with such standards enables the individuals to practice in agreement with the prescribed best practices. By so doing, a person is free from the harsh effects associated with the wrong decisions in such situations (Dehghani, Mosalanejad, & Dehghan-Nayeri, 2015). As such, going into the future, nurses need to utilize such a strategy if they are to get the best outcomes.


Dehghani, A., Mosalanejad, L., & Dehghan-Nayeri, N. (2015). Factors affecting professional ethics in nursing practice in Iran: a qualitative study. BMC Medical Ethics16(1).

Morrison, E. E., & Furlong, E. (2014). Health care ethics: Critical issues for the 21st century. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Ozolins, J. T., & Grainger, J. (2015). Foundations of healthcare ethics: Theory to practice.