Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper

Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper


The past few years have seen tremendous development and improvements in medicine that have changed the way things are done. These developments have led to faster and accurate diagnosis and treatment of diseases. However, with these developments, healthcare professionals face a hoard of new ethical and legal challenges. Some of the common ethical issues in the healthcare setting that create problems for nurses and other healthcare professionals are; patient confidentiality, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and consent. Concerning legal issues, medical negligence, confidentiality, and consent are some of the common challenges for nurses (Weaver, 2016 Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper). This paper examines the importance of ethical decision-making, the ethical decision-making process, and a summary of the evidence presented in the resolution of the legal case chosen and the ethical decisions made in the case.

Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper

Importance of Ethical Decision-Making

The decisions that nurses make while discharging their duties greatly influence their effectiveness. Besides, these decisions have a direct impact on the health of patients which in turn defines the value of care they receive (Harrison, Taylor & Merritt, 2018 Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper). Through ethical-decision making process, nurses can protect the rights of their patients, avoid confidentiality issues, abide by consent rules, and respect all other legal requirements.

The observance of ethical issues helps nurses to avoid legal challenges. Today, people/patients are increasingly aware of their rights and even minor mistakes can lead to expensive legal lawsuits and even termination of a nurse’s contract (Sturdivant, Seguin & Amiri, 2018 Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper). The nursing ethical principles act as a reminder to all nurses about commitment to the duty of care. Nurses do not only have a duty of care to their patients, they owe it to them. Ethical decision-making help nurses to avoid situations that may jeopardize their duty of care responsibilities.

Ethical Decision-Making Process

The process of ethical decision-making starts with the thought nursing principles. Every nurse must ascertain that they are doing the right thing. For example, if a nurse was picking a medicine from a shelf full of medicine, she/he must ensure that the drug chosen is the correct one. Thus, a nurse must begin by questioning themselves if what they are doing is the correct thing. If in doubt, it is best to seek help from others. The nursing profession has no room for errors which means that every medical professional must ascertain and counter-check that they are doing the correct thing.

The process of ethical decision-making requires nurses to have strong positive nursing values and beliefs. Beliefs such as doing the right thing all the time, compassion, caring, honesty, integrity, and responsibility help nurses to avoid ethical and legal issues. Nurses are held to a strong sense of responsibility for life (Mellinger, & Volk, 2018 Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper). This means that they have no room for making errors. When a nurse takes his/her duty seriously, they make little or no mistakes.

Evidence Presented from Chosen Case

Nurse Mary is a highly experienced Advanced Practice Registered Nurse-APRN working in a private hospital in Los Angeles. A few days ago while on duty at night, Nurse Mary was to administer the drug Celebrex/celecoxib to patient X. She went to the shelf containing the medication and picked Cerebyx/fosphenytoin thinking that she had chosen Celebrex since these two drugs have a similar name and also have the same appearance. She wheeled the medication- Cerebyx/fosphenytoin and administered it to her patient. Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper. After a few seconds, the patient developed complications in breathing and died a few seconds later. Investigations into the death of the patient revealed that nurse Mary had administered the wrong drug to the patient leading to her death.

In the case of patient X above, the death of the patient was caused by a medical error. Being nighttime and also through exhaustion, Nurse Mary wrongfully picked the wrong medication that caused the death of a patient. Legally, Nurse Mary has a case to answer because her negligence causes the death of a patient. Ethically, Nurse Mary broke the nursing principle of causing no harm to others (McBride et al., 2018). The hospital and the nurse must bear the ethical and legal consequences of the death of patient X through negligence.

Personal Thoughts

I believe that nurses can avoid some ethical issues by being a bit vigilant and careful. For example, in the case of Nurse Mary, her predicament would be non-existent if only she double-checked the medication she picked. Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper. Some errors can be easily avoided and nurses must ensure that they do all in their power to avoid these situations. Other situations may be above nurses such as systems problems. These situations must be taken care of by relevant authorities within healthcare facilities to eliminate situations of ethical and legal conflict.


The decisions that nurses make while performing their duties speak volumes about their effectiveness. Besides, a nurse’s reputation is pegged on their ability to provide quality care to patients. In this regard, nurses must make effective decisions knowing well that the choices they make not only affect their patients but also affects them. Patients put their trust in nurses to help them recover which means nurses must make ethical decisions that do not adversely affect patients.

Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper References

  • Harrison, K. L., Taylor, H. A., & Merritt, M. W. (2018). Action Guide for Addressing Ethical Challenges of Resource Allocation within Community-Based Healthcare Organizations. The Journal of Clinical Ethics29(2), 124.
  • McBride, S., Tietze, M., Robichaux, C., Stokes, L., & Weber, E. (2018). Identifying and addressing ethical issues with use of electronic health recordsOnline J Issues Nurs23(1). DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol23No01Man05
  • Mellinger, J. L., & Volk, M. L. (2018). Transplantation for alcohol-related liver disease: is it fair?. Alcohol and Alcoholism53(2), 173-177. DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agx105
  • Roshanzadeh, M., Vanaki, Z., & Sadooghiasl, A. (2020). Sensitivity in ethical decision-making: The experiences of nurse managers. Nursing Ethics27(5), 1174-1186.
  • Sturdivant, T., Seguin, C., & Amiri, A. (2020). Ethical Decision-Making for Nurses Treating Acute Pain in Patients with Opioid Abuse History. Medsurg Nursing29(1), 9-17.
  • Weaver, M. (2016). The double helix: applying an ethic of care to the duty to warn genetic relatives of genetic information. Bioethics30(3), 181-187.


The purpose of this assignment is to understand how the legal and ethical issues in the health care setting are being scrutinized across the nation by state and federal regulatory agencies. Individuals, professionals, and organizations must comply with rules of law and ethical conduct, and apply ethical decision-making in every scenario. Applying Ethical Decision Making Paper

Find a legal case where an ethical decision was made and write a 750- to 1,000-word analysis of the case. Address the following based on your chosen chase:

Explain the importance of ethical decision-making for health care professionals.
Summarize the evidence presented in the resolution of the legal case and the ethical decisions that were made.
Explain how the application of evidence-based practice supports the ethical decision-making process.
Describe your personal thoughts on the decisions that are specific to the legal case you chose.
Explain what could have been done to prevent the ethical and legal issues from occurring in the first place.
Support the analysis with 2–3 scholarly resources.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

This assignment uses a rubric. Review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful

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