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Applied Ethics in Nursing


Discuss about the Applied Ethics in Nursing.


Ethical Thing that the Nurse must Address

Mary is in a dilemma of whether to inform the Patient mother that her daughter has pregnancy signs or to keep it a secret. Mary is entitled to patient confidentiality but at the same time the patient is a minor and cannot make decisions on her own. In Mary’s scenario keeping the confidentiality is the most ethical thing to do. But at the same time the

List of the things that are ethical/ legally important

  • The capacity of the consent is the ability to make your decisions. These apply to all the adults; they have the right to make their decisions without being interfered by their parents.
  • Status of the patient is the level of illness of the patient. If the illness is serious or not, if it’s serious the patient parents need to be informed.
  • Entitlement of confidentiality is very important since the nurse is entitled to patient’s confidentiality. The patients must not feel betrayed by the one person she/he trusts with her secret.

Options available for Mary

In this situation Mary will have two options as follows;-

  • To cover up for the patient and say she doesn’t know why she is experiencing such symptoms. She will have to help the patient by not letting the mother know that the daughter might be pregnant.
  • Tell the mother that some test needs to be done to determine what is exactly wrong with the daughter. After that, she will have to tell the patient that she cannot keep the promise, and give her the chance to tell the mother herself before she can tell her.

The second option is the best for the patient won’t feel that her confidentiality has been violated. These are because lying to a parent is not ethical, and telling her she cannot divulge the information will not be okay too. These because the mother will ask her daughter what she is hiding and it won’t sound good for the patient. It’s best to keep the mother waiting so that the nurse and the daughter can talk and explain to her why she is not in a position keep her confidentiality any longer. The nurse will further explain to her that even if she keeps it secret, it won’t be long because the health insurance will show that a pregnancy test was done to her. The nurse will give the patient a chance to tell her mother what is wrong in front of her. If the patient refuses to let her mum, then the nurse will have no choice but to revile it

Argument for the course of action taken by Mary

I nominated these option because of the health status of the patient. The patient has low haemoglobin due to lack of iron deficiency and needs to be given a substitute for increasing the iron. Furthermore, the patient mother needs to know about the diet to supplement the iron deficit, and the patient alone cannot be able to achieve it without the parent's knowledge. To ensure that the patient takes her pregnancy to term the mother should be involved since the patient is too young to know how to take care of herself.

Another reason is the fact that the patient is a minor, and she is not able to make decisions without letting her parents approve of them. According to law, the nurse is supposed to inform the parents of their children medical problems. Moreover, the patient is young and needs help since she might not know what to do. She could cause harm to herself by trying to do an abortion without her parent’s knowledge of her pregnancy.  It would be a wrong idea for the nurse to withhold such information from the parent.

Ethically the parent should be aware of what the child is going through, rather than being in the dark until the pregnancy is visible. The patient needs to go for a clinical check and to be monitored. Knowing that the patient has low haemoglobin she will be given iron tablets throughout the pregnancy to ensure the level rises. The iron tablets will also help develop bones for the unborn baby. Some people fail to go for clinic checkups without knowing the effects of it, in these case, the girl might not go, and it might affect the unborn baby development.

I didn’t choose the option of covering up for the patient because it’s clinically wrong to lie to a parent, in order to keep the secret of their children. The best way to do so is if it’s illegal to give out the information. In that cause, the nurse is required to tell the parent that she is not at liberty to reveal the information. By that, the parent will not say that there is a problem with her daughter but will have to ask her alone.

When a person is pregnant, there are some things that one should not take, taking them might affect the baby. Since the girl is young and has never been pregnant and fears to tell her mother, she might not know what not to take. Letting her mother to know will save such situation and avoid any danger for the unborn. The patient will feel betrayed, but you will help her without knowing she will be grateful later.

Another reason I didn’t choose the option is the fact that it’s ethically wrong to the lie of your awareness of a situation. The mother will find out of the situation soon, and she will think that the nurse should not be trusted. Gaining trust for such a person will be very hard, yet they are medical professionals, and they need to be trusted by the people who seek medical help. If the nurse lies about the condition of the patient she won’t be helping her because the patient might take a wrong decision.  The decision would have been avoided if she had violated the confidentiality and tell the patient mother of the situation. Who will help her daughter by advising her on the best thing to do and help her throughout the pregnancy period. The first option is not recommended because it has a lot of risks involved, a good nurse can access the situation and give the best option.

It’s usually not good to disclose someone privacy but if disclosing it will help a situation then it’s worth the try. In this situation, the patient mother will be aware of the situation and will help her throughout the process. In this case, it will be worth violating the confidentiality of the patient. Making a wrong decision in such a situation may cause a lot of problems for the patient.


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Hallam, j., 2000. Nursing image; media, culture, and professional identity.

Hunt, G., 1994. Ethical Issues in Nursing. Routledge.

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Johnson, E. G., 2006. Case Studies in Nursing Ethics, Nursing Education Perspectives.

Lachman, V. D., 2006. Applied Ethics in Nursing.

Larson June, B. m. e. l. p. i. &. s. c., 2013. The formation of professional identity in nursing. Nursing Education Perspectives.

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