Ethical dilemmas are a well-spread issue across the medical field. If you have been in the nursing world for some time now, you have probably already stumbled upon many ethical dilemmas. With nurses working with so many and diverse sensitive issues, there is no wonder you sometimes get to feel like your personal morals clash with the nursing ethics you must invest through your job.
Ethical dilemmas can take a toll on your wellbeing, especially when you don’t see it coming. The more you prepare yourself mentally about the subject, the better you will know how to react when presented the opportunity. But regardless of how much you try to think about some things, you will not always find a right or wrong way to react. After all, that is what an ethical dilemma means: having to make peace with not reaching a satisfactory resolution.
With nursing being such a moral based job that most people choose because of their strong convictions and commitment to serving others, it feels as if there should never be any discord while at work. After all, your main motivation in pursuing this career is to help others and to contribute to reducing harm in any possible way. But good and harm are two very subjective concepts. What you might believe to be the best way to help someone might not be congruent with their belief. Serving others in these cases might just as well mean having to help them while not sharing their beliefs. But of course, this clash has to come within certain limits. Otherwise, you will end up feeling exhausted by giving up on “yourself.”
Where are the most common places where this clash between your nursing ethics and your personal morals might happen? Of course, there are plenty of ethical issues that nurses might come across every day. Most of them involve some deep sense of ethics around life and death, freedom of choice, and so on.
Cultural and Religious Differences
Here is where most of the clashes happen. Our beliefs around life and death shape our behavior, and they can be very different from person to person. Some major subjects stirring a lot of trouble are issues revolving around the pro-choice versus pro-life debate, rejecting life-saving procedures that go against religious beliefs, etc.
If a nurse does not truly support the pro-choice movement, how can (s)he still carry on with the medical duty they have in case of a patient going through an abortion?