In my nursing experience, I have encountered an ethical dilemma about “healthcare needs vs. resource allocation.” At my previous facility, their budget was limited, and we were a lack of medical supplies, such as blood pressure monitors, needles, foley catheter, etc. Doctors ordered medical treatments for patients, but due to the lack of the supplies, we were not able to carry out the orders on time. As a nurse, I wanted to follow the principle of beneficence, which is clinicians have a duty to provide appropriate care and benefit to a patient. (Bann & Parke, 2018) However, I was not able to follow it several times and felt patients did not get quality care from us. I reported the issue to managers, but the issue was not solved right away. According to Duquesne University (2020), the rising cost of healthcare is increasingly putting nurse managers at odds with budgeting constraints and patient needs. A large number of medical facilities have scarce resources, which puts patients at risk for not getting the care they need. (Duquesne University, 2020)
Several months later, a new DON came to the facility, and she listened to our concerns. She hired a person who managed medical supplies of the facility. After that, the issue was improved. I learned that the management is very important for nurses and staff to provide quality care to patients. Also, nurses need to speak up the issues that affect patient’s safety. According to Haddad & Geinger (2020), it is important that the patient is protected by reporting any misconduct or potential safety concern. Also, the code of ethics for nurses from American Nurse Association states that the nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient. (Haddad & Geinger, 2020)
Nurses are in a unique position when it comes to ethics in healthcare because of their close relationships with patients. As a nurse not only is it important for protecting your patient but coping with dilemmas and feeling confident enough to speak up when it is critical for your well-being. The most frequently occurring and stressful ethical situations are protecting patient’s rights, staffing, advanced care planning, and decision making (Rainer, Schneider, & Lorenz, 2018). In my nursing career, the ethical dilemma that has affected me most is honesty and withholding information. A young boy was brought in and admitted to the hospital and I was the one taking care of him. The tests were done and the boy was diagnosed with cancer. When the boy’s parents got the news they withheld the information from the boy to protect his emotions. However the boy’s age, he deserved to know about his medical condition. Even after a long conversation with the parents about the issue they still froze-off my opinions. Nursing ethics advocates for truth-telling or veracity, as a key factor in nurse-patient relationships while on the other hand decided to share the information with the patient would be going against the parent’s decision.
In the end, I ended up not telling the boy anything. I had to respect the decision of the parents despite the need to tell the boy of what he is suffering from.