Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper

Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper

NURS 6565 Week 2 Discussion: Ethical Challenges in Health Care for Practicing NPs

Consider the following case study:

Mrs. ABC is a 35 year old woman who has a scheduled business trip today. It is currently 8 am, and her plan is to leave at 6 pm. Mrs. ABC has a sore throat and she thinks it is strep because her 5 year old daughter was recently treated for strep. Mrs. ABC calls her physician for an appointment, but there are no appointments available until next week. She has a mother who is a nurse practitioner and her office is 5 minutes away from where she lives. She calls and schedules an appointment with her mother. Her mother was surprised to see her daughter at the office. Mrs. ABC is frantic and begs her mother for an antibiotic. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. Her mother tests her and the rapid strep test is negative in office. Her mother (NP) sends out a strep DNA probe. Her mother prescribes an antibiotic and the patient (her daughter) is very satisfied. The results returned for the DNA probe 48 hours later and it confirmed negative for strep. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper


By Day 3 OF NURS 6565 Week 2 Discussion

Post an explanation of whether NPs should treat family members. What are the ethical dilemmas in this situation? What are the laws in your state for NPs treating themselves, family, or friends? Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

****I live in Texas**** but you can choose any state in the US

NURS 6565 Week 2 Discussion Resources

NURS 6565 Week 2 Discussion

CHAPTER CONTENTS Characteristics of Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing, 328

Communication Problems, 329 Interdisciplinary Conflict, 329 Multiple Commitments, 330

Ethical Issues Affecting Advanced Practice Nurses, 330

Primary Care Issues, 330 Acute and Chronic Care, 330 Societal Issues, 331 Access to Resources and Issues of Justice, 332 Legal Issues, 333

Changes in interprofessional roles, advances in medical technology, privacy issues, revisions in patient care delivery systems, and heightened economic constraints have increased the complexity of ethical issues in the health care setting. Nurses in all areas of health care routinely encounter disturbing moral issues, yet the success with which these dilemmas are resolved varies significantly. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. Because nurses have a unique relationship with the patient and family, the moral position of nursing in the health care arena is distinct. As the complexity of issues intensifies, the role of the advanced practice nurse (APN) becomes particularly important in the identification, deliberation, and resolution of complicated and difficult moral problems. Although all nurses are moral agents, APNs are expected to be leaders in rec- ognizing and resolving moral problems, creating ethical practice environments, and promoting social justice in the larger health care system. It is a basic tenet of the central definition of advanced practice nursing (see Chapter 3) that skill in ethical decision making is one of the core competencies of all APNs. In addition, the Doctor of Nursing Practice {DNP) essential competencies emphasize leadership in developing and evaluating strate- gies to manage ethical dilemmas in patient care and organizational arenas (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2006). This chapter explores the distinctive ethical decision-making competency of advanced practice nursing, the process of developing and evaluating this competency, and barriers to ethical prac- tice that APNs can expect to confront. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper


Ethical Decision Making

Ann B. Hamric • Sarah A. Delgado

Ethical Decision Making Competency of Advanced Practice Nurses, 333

Phases of Core Competency Development, 333 Evaluation of the Ethical Decision Making Competency, 349 Barriers to Ethical Practice and Potential Solutions, 350

Barriers Internal to the Advanced Practice Nurse, 350 lnterprofessional Barriers, 351 Patient-Provider Barriers, 351 Organizational and Environmental Barriers, 352

Conclusion, 354

Characteristics of Ethical Dilemmas

lll~l\12:’:1’Si~ ~~·-· ~ -······· …. ···~ ·-· In this chapter, the terms ethics and morality or morals are used interchangeably (see Beauchamp & Childress, 2009, for a discussion of the distinctions between these terms). A problem becomes an ethical or moral problem when issues of core values or fundamental obligations are present. An ethical or moral dilemma occurs when obliga- tions require or appear to require that a person adopt two (or more) alternative actions, but the person cannot carry out all the required alternatives. The agent experiences tension because the moral obligations resulting from the dilemma create differing and opposing demands (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009; Purtilo & Doherty, 2011). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. In some moral dilemmas, the agent must choose between equally unacceptable alternatives; that is, both may have elements that are morally unsatisfactory. For example, based on her evaluation, a family nurse practitioner (FNP) may suspect that a patient is a victim of domestic violence, although the patient denies it. The FNP is faced with two options that are both ethically troubling-connect the patient with existing social services, possibly straining the family and jeopardizing the FNP-patient relationship, or avoid intervention and potentially allow the violence to continue. As described by Silva and Ludwick (2002), hon- oring the FNP’s desire to prevent harm (the principle of beneficence) justifies reporting the suspicion, whereas respect for the patient’s autonomy justifies the opposite course of action. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper

Jameton (1984, 1993) has distinguished two additional types of moral problems from the classic moral dilemma, which he termed moral uncertainty and moral distress. In situations of moral uncertainty, the nurse experiences unease and questions the right course of action. In moral distress, nurses believe that they know the ethically appro- priate action but feel constrained from carrying out that action because of institutional obstacles (e.g., lack of time or supervisory support, physician power, institutional policies, legal constraints). Noting that nurses and others often take varied actions in response to moral distress, Varcoe and colleagues (2012) have proposed a revision to Jameton’s definition: “moral distress is the experience of being seriously compromised as a moral agent in prac- ticing in accordance with accepted professional values and standards. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. It is a relational experience shaped by multiple contexts, including the socio-political and cul- tural context of the workplace environment” (p. 60). The phenomenon of moral distress has received increasing national and international attention in nursing and medical literature. Studies have reported that moral dis- tress is significantly related to unit-level ethical climate and to health care professionals’ decisions to leave clinical practice (Corley, Minick, Elswick, et al., 2005; Epstein & Hamric, 2009; Hamric, Borchers, & Epstein, 2012; Hamric, Davis, & Childress, 2006; Pauly, Varcoe, Storch, et al., 2009; Schluter, Winch, Hozhauser, et al., 2008; Varcoe, Pauly, Webster, & Storch, 2012). APNs work to decrease the incidence of moral uncertainty and moral distress for themselves and their colleagues through edu- cation, empowerment, and problem solving. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper

Although the scope and nature of moral problems experienced by nurses and, more specifically APNs, reflect the varied clinical settings in which they practice, three general themes emerge when ethical issues in nursing practice are examined. These are problems with commu- nication, the presence of interdisciplinary conflict, and nurses’ difficulties with managing multiple commitments and obligations.

Communication Problems

The first theme encountered in many ethical dilemmas is the erosion of open and honest communication. Clear communication is an essential prerequisite for informed and responsible decision making. Some ethical disputes reflect inadequate communication rather than a difference in values (Hamric & Blackball, 2007; Ulrich, 2012). The APN’s communication skills are applied in several arenas. Within the health care team, discussions are most effective when members are accountable for presenting informa- tion in a precise and succinct manner. In patient encoun- ters, disagreements between the patient and a family. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

C HAP T E R 13 Ethical Decision Making

member or within the family can be rooted in faulty com- munication, which then leads to ethical conflict. The skill of listening is just as crucial in effective communication as having proficient verbal skills. Listening involves recog- nizing and appreciating various perspectives and showing respect to individuals with differing ideas. To listen well is to allow others the necessary time to form and present their thoughts and ideas. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper

Understanding the language used in ethical delibera- tions (e.g., terms such as beneficence, autonomy, and utili- tarian justice) helps the APN frame the concern. This can help those involved to see the components of the ethical problem rather than be mired in their own emotional responses. When ethical dilemmas arise, effective com- munication is the first key to negotiating and facilitating a resolution. Jameson (2003) has noted that the long history of conflict between certified registered nurse anes- thetists (CRNAs) and anesthesiologists influences how these providers communicate in practice settings. In inter- views with members of both groups, she found that some transcended role-based conflict whereas others became mired in it, particularly in the emotions around perceived threats to role fulfillment. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. She recommended enhancing communication through focus on the common goal of patient care, rather than on the conflicting opinions about supervision and autonomous practice. In other words, focusing on shared values rather than the values in conflict can promote effective communication. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Interdisciplinary Conflict

The second theme encountered is that most ethical dilem- mas that occur in the health care setting are multidisci- plinary in nature. Issues such as refusal of treatment, end-of-life decision making, cost containment, and confi- dentiality all have interprofessional elements interwoven in the dilemmas, so an interprofessional approach is nec- essary for successful resolution of the issue. Health care professionals bring varied viewpoints and perspectives into discussions of ethical issues (Hamric & Blackball, 2007; Piers, Azoulay, Ricou, et al., 2011; Shannon, Mitchell, & Cain, 2002). These differing positions can lead to creative and collaborative decision making or to a breakdown in communication and lack of problem solving. Thus, an interdisciplinary theme is prevalent in the presentation and resolution of ethical problems. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

For example, a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is writing discharge orders for an older woman who is terminally ill with heart failure. The plan of care, agreed on by the inter- professional team, patient, and family, is to continue oral medications but discontinue IV inotropic support and all other aggressive measures. Just prior to discharge, the social worker informs the CNS that medical coverage for


330 PART ll Competencies of Advanced Practice Nursing

the patient’s care in the skilled nursing facility will only be covered by the insurer if the patient has an IV in place. The attending cardiologist determines that the patient can be discharged to her daughter’s home because she no longer requires skilled care and the social worker agrees to proceed with this plan. However, the CNS is concerned that the patient’s need for physical assistance will over- whelm her daughter and believes that the patient is better off returning to the sldlled nursing facility. Although each team member shares responsibility to ensure that the plan of care is consistent with the patient’s wishes and mini- mizes the cost burden to the patient, they differ in how to achieve these goals. Such legitimate but differing perspec- tives from various team members can lead to ethical conflict. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Multiple Commitments

The third theme that frequently arises when ethical issues in nursing practice are examined is the issue of balancing commitments to multiple parties. Nurses have numerous and, at times, competing fidelity obligations to various stakeholders in the health care and legal systems (Chambliss, 1996; Hamric, 2001). Fidelity is an ethical concept that requires persons to be faithful to their com- mitments and promises. For the APN, these obligations start with the patient and family but also include physi- cians and other colleagues, the institution or employer, the larger profession, and oneself. Ethical deliberation involves analyzing and dealing with the differing and opposing demands that occur as a result of these commitments. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. An APN may face a dilemma if encouraged by a specialist consultant to pursue a costly intervention on behalf of a patient, whereas the APN’s hiring organization has estab- lished cost containment as a key objective and does not support use of this intervention (Donagrandi & Eddy, 2000). In this and other situations, APNs are faced with an ethical dilemma created by multiple commitments and the need to balance obligations to all parties.

The general themes of communication, interdisciplin- ary conflict, and balancing multiple commitments are prevalent in most ethical dilemmas. Specific ethical issues may be Wlique to the specialty area and clinical setting in which the APN practices. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Ethical Issues Affecting Advanced Practice Nurses

Primary Care Issues

Situations in which personal values contradict professional responsibilities often confront NPs in a primary care setting. Issues such as abortion, teen pregnancy, patient

nonadherence to treatment, childhood immunizations, regulations and laws, and financial constraints that inter- fere with care were cited in one older study as frequently encountered ethical issues (Turner, Marquis, & Burman, 1996). Ethical problems related to insurance reimburse- ment, such as when implementation of a desired plan of care is delayed by the insurance authorization process or restrictive prescription plans, are an issue for APNs. The problem of inadequate reimbursement can also arise when there is a lack of transparency regarding the specifics of services covered by an insurance plan. For example, a patient who has undergone diagnostic testing during an inpatient stay may later be informed that the test is not covered by insurance because it was done on the day of discharge. Had the patient and nurse practitioner (NP) known of this policy, the testing could have been sched- uled on an outpatient basis with prior authorization from the insurance company and thus be a covered expense. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Viens {1994) found that primary care NPs interpret their moral responsibilities as balancing obligations to the patient, family, colleagues, employer, and society. More recently, Laabs (2005) has found that the issues most often noted by NP respondents as causing moral dilemmas are those of being required to follow policies and procedures that infringe on personal values, needing to bend the rules to ensure appropriate patient care, and dealing with patients who have refused appropriate care. Issues leading to moral distress included pressure to see an excessive number of patients, clinical decisions being made by others, and a lack of power to effect change (Laabs, 2005). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. Increasing expectations to care for more patients in less time are routine in all types of health care settings as pressures to contain costs escalate. APNs in rural settings may have fewer resources than their col- leagues working in or near academic centers in which ethics committees, ethics consultants, and educational opportunities are more accessible.

Issues of quality of life and symptom management tra- verse primary and acute health care settings. Pain relief and symptom management can be problematic for nurses and physicians (Oberle & Hughes, 2001). APNs must con- front the various and sometimes conflicting goals of the patient, family, and other health care providers regarding the plans for treatment, symptom management, and quality of life. The APN is often the individual who coor- dinates the plan of care and thus is faced with clinical and ethical concerns when participants’ goals are not consis- tent or appropriate. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Acute and Chronic Care

In the acute care setting, APNs struggle with dilemmas involving pain management, end-of-life decision making,

advance directives, assisted suicide, and medical errors (Shannon, Foglia, Hardy, & Gallagher; 2009). Rajput and Bekes (2002) identified ethical issues faced by hospital- based physicians, including obtaining informed consent, establishing a patient’s competence to make decisions, maintaining confidentiality, and transmitting health information electronically. APNs in acute care settings may experience similar ethical dilemmas. Recent studies of moral distress have revealed that feeling pressured to continue aggressive treatments that respondents thought were not in the patients’ best interest or in situations in which the patient was dying, working with physicians or nurses who were not fully competent, giving false hope to patients and families, poor team communication, and lack of provider continuity were all issues that engen- dered moral distress (Hamric & Blackball, 2007; Hamric, Borchers, & Epstein, 2012). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper

APNs bring a distinct perspective to collaborative decision making and often find themselves bridging com- munication between the medical team and patient or family. For example, the neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is responsible for the day-to-day medical manage- ment of the critically ill neonate and may be the first provider to respond in emergency situations (Juretschke, 2001). The NNP establishes a trusting relationship with the family and becomes aware of the values, beliefs, and attitudes that shape the family’s decisions. Thus, the NNP has insight into the perspectives of the health care team and family. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. This “in-the-middle” position, however, can be accompanied by moral distress (Hamric, 2001), particu- larly when the team’s treatment decision carried out by the NNP is not congruent with the NNP’s professional judg- ment or values. Botwinski (2010) conducted a needs assessment ofNNPs and found that most had not received formal ethics content in their education and desired more education on the management of end-of-life situations, such as delivery room resuscitation of a child on the edge of viability. Knowing the best interests of the infant and balancing those obligations to the infant with the emo- tional, cognitive, financial, and moral concerns that face the family struggling with a critically ill neonate is a complex undertaking. Care must be guided by an NNP and health care team who understand the ethical princi- ples and decision making related to issues confronted in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) practice. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Societal Issues

Ongoing cost containment pressures in the health care sect01· have significantly changed the traditional practice of delivering health care. Goals of reduced expenditures and services and increased efficiency, although important, may compete with enhanced quality oflife for patients and

cHAPTER 13 Ethical Decision Making

improved treatment and care, creating tension between providers and administrators, particularly in managed care systems in which providers find that their clinical decisions are subject to outside review before they can be reimbursed. Ulrich and associates (2006) surveyed NPs and physician assistants to identify their ethical concerns in relation to cost containment efforts, including managed care. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. They found that 72% of respondents reported ethical concerns related to limited access to appropriate care and more than 50% reported concerns related to the quality of care. An earlier study of 254 NPs revealed that 80% of the sample perceived that to help patients, it was sometimes necessary to bend managed care guidelines to provide appropriate care (Ulrich, Soeken, & Miller, 2003). Most respondents in this study reported being moderately to extremely ethically concerned with managed care; more than 50% said that they were concerned that business decisions took priority over patient welfare and more than 75% stated that their primary obligation was shifting from the patient to the insurance plan. Although the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services fHHSJ, 2011) may help with these concerns to some extent, the ethical tensions that underlie cost containment pressures and the business model orientation of health care delivery may continue. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

An example of how cost containment goals can create conflict is a situation in which a NP wishes to order a computed tomography (CT) scan to evaluate a patient complaining of abdominal pain. The NP knows that the patient has a history of diverticulosis resulting in abscess formation and the current pres·entation with fever and abdominal tenderness justifies this testing; however, the insurance approval process takes a minimum of 24 hours. By sending the patient to the emergency room, the test can be done more quickly, but the patient will also face a long wait and a high copay if she does not require subse- quent hospital admission. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. Limiting access to CT scans is based on containing costs and avoiding unnecessary testing, which are two laudable goals. However, in this situation, the lengthy approval process means that the NP does not have needed information to direct the treatment plan and alleviate the patient’s suffering in a timely manner. The use of the emergency room to obtain essen- tial clinical information is a greater burden on the patient and may ultimately prove more expensive to the system. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Technologic advances, such as the rapidly expanding :field of genetics, are also challenging APNs (Caulfield, 2012; Harris, Winship, & Spriggs, 2005; Horner, 2004; Pullman & Hodgkinson, 2006). As Hopldnson and Mackay (2002) have noted, although the potential impact of mapping the human genome is immense, the challenge of how to translate genetic data rapidly into improvements


332 PART IT Competencies of Advanced Practice Nursing

in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease remains. To counsel patients effectively on the risks and benefits of genetic testing, APNs need to stay current in this rapidly changing field (a helpful resource for this and other issues is the text by Steinbock, Arras, and London, 2012), As one example, genetic testing poses a unique challenge to the informed consent process. Patients may feel pressured by family members to undergo or refuse testing, and may require intensive counseling to under- stand the complex implications of such testing; APNs are also involved in post-test counseling, which raises ethical concerns regarding the disclosure of test results to other family members (Eden, 2006). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. Because genetic information is crucially linked to the concepts of privacy and confidentiality, and the availability of this information is increasing, it is inevitable that APNs will encounter legal issues and ethical dilemmas related to the use of genetic data. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

APNs may engage in research as principal investiga- tors, co-investigators, or data collectors for clinical studies and trials. In addition, leading quality improvement (QI) initiatives is a key expectation of the DNP-prepared APN (AACN, 2006). Ethical issues abound in clinical research, including recruiting and retaining patients in studies, pro- tecting vulnerable populations from undue risk, and ensuring informed consent, fair access to research, and study subjects’ privacy. As APNs move into QI and research initiatives, they may experience the conflict between the clinician role, in which the focus is on the best interests of an individual patient, and that of the researcher, in which the focus is on ensuring the integrity of the study (Edwards & Chalmers, 2002). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Access to Resources and Issues of Justice

Issues of access to and distribution of resources create powerful dilemmas for APNs, many of whom care for underserved populations. Issues of social justice and equi- table access to resources present formidable challenges in clinical practice. Trotochard (2006) noted that a growing number of uninsured individuals lack access to routine health care; they experience worse outcomes from acute and chronic diseases and face higher mortality rates than those with insurance. McWilliams and colleagues (2007) found that previously uninsured Medicare beneficiaries require significantly more hospitalizations and office visits when compared with those with similar health problems who, prior to Medicare eligibility, had private insurance. The PPACA, when fully enacted, will help improve access to quality care and decrease the incidence of these dilem- mas. However, as noted, the escalating costs of health care represent ethical challenges to providers and systems alike, regardless of the population’s insurance status. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper

The allocation of scarce health care resources also creates ethical conflicts for providers; regardless of pay- ment mechanisms, there are insufficient resources to meet all societal needs (Bodenheimer & Grumbach, 2012; Trotochard, 2006). Scarcity of resources is more severe in developing areas of the world and justice issues of fair and equitable distribution of health care services present serious ethical dilemmas for nurses in these regions (Harrowing & Mill, 2010). A further international issue is the “brain drain” of nurses and other health professionals who leave underdeveloped countries to take jobs in developed countries (Chaguturu & Vallabhaneni, 2007; Dwyer, 2007). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay Paper

Allocation issues have been described in the area of organ transplantation but dilemmas related to scarce resources also arise in regard to daily decision maldng, for example, with a CNS guiding the assignment of patients in a staffing shortage, or an FNP finding that a specialty consultation for a patient is not available for several months. Whether in community or acute care settings, APNs must, on a daily basis, balance their obligation to provide holistic, evidence-based care with the necessity to contain costs and the reality that some patients will not receive needed health care. As Bodenheimer and Grumbach (2012) have noted, “Perhaps no tension within the U.S. health care system is as far from reaching a satis- factory equilibrium as the achievement of a basic level of fairness in the distribution of health care services and the burden of paying for those services” (p. 215). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

One of the value-added components that APNs bring to any practice setting is creativity and a wide range of patient management strategies, which are crucial in caring for large numbers of uninsured and underinsured persons. It is not uncommon for an APN to encounter a patient who has been forced to stop taking certain medications for financial reasons. Although many practitioners pre- scribe generic forms of medications, if available, some patients still have to pay an exorbitant price for their medi- cations. For example, an acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) managing an underinsured patient with chronic lung disease and heart failure discovers that the patient is unable to pay for all the medications prescribed and has elected to forego the diuretic and an angiotensin- converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. Because the ACNP knows that ACE-Is are associated with reduced morbidity and mortality rates, and that diuretics control symptoms and prevent rehospitalization, these changes are discour- aged. Instead, the ACNP helps the patient make more suitable choices when altering medications, such as dosing some medications on an every-other-day basis. The ACNP has helped the patient cope with the situation but must face the morally unsettling fact that this plan of care is medically inferior. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Finally, as APNs broaden their perspectives to encom- pass population health and increased policy activities, both essential competencies of the DNP-prepared APN (AACN, 2006), they will experience the tension between caring for the individual patient and the larger population (Emanuel, 2002). Caregivers are increasingly being asked to incorporate population-based cost considerations into individualized clinical decision making (Bodenheimer & Grumbach, 2012). Population-based considerations pre- sent a challenge to the moral agency of APNs, who have been educated to privilege the individual clinical decision. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Legal Issues

Over the last 30 years, the complexity of ethical issues in the health care environment and the inability to reach agreement among parties has resulted in participants turning to the legal system for resolution. A body of legal precedent has emerged, reflecting changes in society’s moral consensus. Ideally, moral rights are upheld or protected by the law. For example, the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards established by the HHS mandate that health care institu- tions receiving federal funds provide services that are accessible to patients regardless of their cultural back- ground (HHS, Office of Minority Health, 2001). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. These standards provide a legislative voice for the ethical obliga- tion to respect all persons, regardless of their cultural background and primary language. In a different voice, the PPACA (HHS, 20ll) has mandated that persons who can afford health insurance purchase it or pay a penalty, starting in 2014. According to this law, societal benefi- cence, in the form of limiting high expenditures on the care of uninsured persons, is preferred over individual autonomy (Trautman, 2011). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

APNs must use caution and not conflate legal perspec- tives with ethical decision making. In many cases, there is no relevant law and thoughtful deliberation of the ethical issues offers the best hope of resolution. In addition, looking to the judicial system for guidance in ethical deci- sion making is troubling because the judicial aim is to interpret the law, not to satisfy the ethical concerns of all parties involved. In addition, clinical understanding may be absent from the judicial perspective. Involvement of the media may further confuse the situation, as was evident in the Schiavo case (Gostin, 2005). The legal guidelines in that case were dear; the Florida court system repeatedly upheld the right of Ms. Schiavo’s spouse to refuse nutrition and hydration on her behalf However, advocacy groups, politicians, and Ms. Schiavo’s parents used the media to offer a variety of interpretations of the case and wielded political power to prevent removal of the feeding tube and to have it replaced twice after it was removed. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. Clearly, the

CHAPTER 13 Ethical Decision Making

legal perspective did not satisfy the moral concerns of all involved. Unfortunately, much of the publicity focused on the emotional experience of the parents fearing the loss ,of their daughter and not on careful consideration of the ethical elements.

Sometimes, the law not only falls short of resolving ethical concerns, but contributes to the creation of new dilemmas. Changes in the Medicare hospice benefit under the PPACA (HHS, 2011) offer a dear example. Designed to prevent hospice agencies from enrolling and re-enrolling patients who do not meet criteria, the new regulations require a face-to-face assessment by a health care provider to recertify hospice eligibility at set intervals after the initial enrollment (Kennedy, 2012). Often, patients with dementia or another slowly progressive disease state who enroll in hospice experience an initial period of stability, likely because they have improved symptom management and access to comprehensive services. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. If this stability extends to the next certification period, the patient may face disenrollment. For the practitioner conducting the assessment, this creates the ethical dilemma of wanting to be truthful regarding the patient’s status and at the same time avoid removing a service that is benefiting the patient and family.

Ethical Decision Making Competency of Advanced Practice Nurses

There are a number of reasons why ethical decision maldng is a core competency of advanced practice nursing. As noted, clinical practice gives rise to numerous ethical concerns and APNs must be able to address these con- cerns. Also, ethical involvement follows and evolves from clinical expertise (Benner, Tanner, & Chesla, 2009). Another reason why ethical decision malting is a core competency can be seen in the expanded collaborative skills that APNs develop (see Chapter 12). APNs practice in a variety of settings and positions but, in most cases, the APN is part of an interprofessional team of caregivers. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. The team may be loosely defined and structured, as in a rural setting, or more definitive, as in the acute care setting. The recent re-emergence of an interprofes- sional care model is changing practice for all providers (Interprofessional Collaborative Initiative [IPECJ, 2011). Regardless of the structure, APNs need the knowledge and skills to avoid power struggles, broker and lead interdis- ciplinary communication, and facilitate consensus among team members in ethically difficult situations. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Phases of Core Competency Development

The core competency of ethical decision making for APNs can be organized into four phases. Each phase depends on


334 PART Il Competencies of Advanced Practice Nursing

Phases of

1. Knowledge Development-Moral Sensitivity

2. Knowledge Application-Moral Action

3. Creating an Ethical Environment

4. Promoting Social Justice Within the Health Care System

of Core

Ethical theories

Ethical issues in specialty

Professional code

Professional standards

Legal precedent

Moral distress

Ethical decision-making frameworks

Mediation and facilitation strategies

Preventive ethics

Awareness of environmental barriers to ethical practice

Concepts of justice

Health policies affecting a specialty population

the acquisition of the lmowledge and skills embedded in the previous level. Thus, the competency of ethical deci- sion making is understood as an evolutionary process in an APN’s development. Phase 1 and beginning exposure to Phase 2 should be explicitly taught in the APN’s gradu- ate education. Phases 3 and 4 evolve as APNs mature in their roles and become comfortable in the practice setting; these phases represent leadership behavior and the full enactment of the ethical decision maldng competency. Phase 4 relies on competencies required of DNP-prepared APNs; the knowledge and sldlls needed for Phases 3 and 4 should be incorporated into DNP programs. Although an expectation of the practice doctorate, all APNs should develop their ethical knowledge and sldlls to include ele- ments of all four phases of this competency. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. The essential elements of each phase are described in Table 13-1.

Phase 1: Knowledge Development The first phase in the ethical decision making competency is developing core lmowledge in ethical theories and prin- ciples and the ethical issues common to specific patient

for Ethical Decision

Sensitivity to ethical dimensions of clinical practice — — — —- —– — – —

Values clarification

Sensitivity to fidelity conflicts

Gather relevant literature related to problems identified

Evaluate practice setting for congruence with literature

Identify ethical issues in the practice setting and bring to the attention of other team members

Apply ethical decision making models to clinical problems

Use skilled communication regarding ethical issues

Facilitate decision making by using select strategies

Recognize and manage moral distress in self and others

Role model collaborative problem solving

Mentor others to develop ethical practice

Address barriers to ethical practice through system changes

Use preventive ethics to decrease unit-level mor~l distress

Ability to analyze the policy process

Advocacy, communication, and leadership skills

Involvement in health policy initiatives supporting social justice

populations or clinical settings. This dual knowledge enables the APN student to integrate philosophical con- cepts with contemporary clinical issues. The emphasis in this initial stage is on learning the language of ethical discourse and achieving cognitive mastery. The APN learns the theories, principles, codes, paradigm cases, and relevant laws that influence ethical decision making. With this knowledge, the APN begins to compare current prac- tices in the clinical setting with the ethical standards desctibed in the literature. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Phase 1 is the beginning of the APN’s personal journey toward developing a distinct and individualized ethical framework. The work of this phase includes developing sensitivity to the moral dimensions of clinical practice (Weaver, 2007). A helpful initial step in building moral sensitivity is understanding one’s values, in which students clarify the personal and professional values that inform their care (Fry & Johnstone, 2008). Engaging in this work uncovers personal values that may have been internalized and not openly aclmowledged, and is particularly impor- tant in our multicultural world. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Another key aspect of this phase is developing the ability to distinguish a true ethical dilemma from a situa- tion of moral distress or other clinically problematic situ- ation. This requires a general understanding of ethical theories, principles, and standards that help the APN define and discern the essential elements of an ethical dilemma. Novice APNs should be able to recognize a moral problem and seek clarification and illumination of the concern. The APN identifies ethical issues and formu- lates the concerns about which others are uneasy. This step earns credibility and enables the APN to gain self- confidence by bringing the issue to the awareness and attention of others. If the issue remains a moral concern after clarification, the APN should pursue resolution, seeking additional help if needed. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Formal education in ethical theories and concepts should be included in graduate education programs for APNs. Although some beginning graduate students will have had significant exposure to ethical issues in their undergraduate programs, most have not. A 2008 U.S. survey of nurses and social workers found that only 51% of the nurse respondents had formal ethics education in their undergraduate or graduate education; 23% had no ethics training at all (Grady, Danis, Soeken, et al., 2008). APN students with no ethics education will be at a disad- vantage in developing this competency because graduate education builds on the ethical foundation of professional practice. The current master’s essentials (AACN, 2011) do not address ethics education directly but include compe- tencies in the use of ethical theories and principles. The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006) contains explicit ethical content in five of the eight major categories (Box 13-1). Even catego- ries that do not explicitly list necessary ethical content imply it in referring to issues such as improving access to health care, addressing gaps in care, and using conceptual and analytic skills to address links between practice and organizational and policy issues. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Exposure to ethical theories, principles, and concepts allows the APN to develop the language necessary to articulate ethical concerns in an interprofessional envi- ronment. It is important, however, that lmowledge devel- opment extend beyond classroom discussions. Clinical practicum experiences also need to build in discussions of ethical dimensions of practice explicitly rather than assume that these discussions will naturally occur. In one study of the clinical experiences of graduate students from four graduate programs, only 4 of20 students were identi- fied as having experience with an ethical dilemma and only 2 of 22 preceptors noted any exposure to ethical dilemmas for students (Howard & Steinberg, 2002). The authors concluded that this apparent void in clinical edu- cation may have been a function oflimited recognition of. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

CHAPTER 13 Ethical Decision Maldng 335

Ethical Competencies in the DNP Essentials*

Integrate nursing scierice with· knowledge: froin ethiCs .and biophysiCal •. psychoS()Ci~l~ analytic, ahd organizational sciences as the basis for the highest level’ Of nurSing practice. (I) Develop and/or eValuate etfective.stfategies for· man·aging the ethical dilemmas inherent in patient care, the health.~are orgimizatiOn; and research. (II) Desigll, direct, .arid evaluate qualitY: ImProv:eme.~t methodologies to promote safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable (emphasis added), and patierit-centered care.·(I!I) Piovide’leadership i.n the ev~luation.and reSolution of ethical and legal issue’s within health care systems relating to ‘the use of inform·ation, inforrilatio·n technology, conirhunication netWorks; ‘arid ·patient care technology. (IV) Advocate for social justice, equity; .a~d ethi~al. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

within. all health care arenas. (V)

‘Essential number in parentheses. From American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). Tile essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. Washington, DC: Author.

ethical decision making processes by APN students and preceptors. In another study, Laabs (2005) noted that 67% of NP respondents claimed that they never or rarely encountered ethical issues. Some respondents showed confusion regarding the language of ethics and related principles. In a later study, Laabs (2012) found that APN graduates, most of whom had had an ethics course in their graduate curriculum, indicated a fairly high level of con- fidence in their ability to manage ethical problems, but their overall ethics knowledge was low. These three studies provide compelling commentary on the need for Phase 1 activity in graduate curricula. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

The core knowledge of ethical theories should be sup- plemented with an understanding of issues central to the patient populations with whom the APN works. As APNs assume positions in specific clinical areas or with particu- lar patient populations, it is incumbent upon them to gain an understanding of the applicable laws, standards, and regulations in their specialty, as well as relevant paradigm cases. This information may be garnered from current literature in the field, continuing education programs, or discussions with colleagues. Information on legal and policy guidelines should be offered during graduate pract- icum experiences in the area of clinical concentration. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

336 PART II Competencies of Advanced Practice Nursing

Although Phase 1 is the building block for the other phases of this competency, it is also an ongoing process. APNs will gain core knowledge in graduate education but, as societal issues change and new technologies emerge, new dilemmas and ethical problems arise. The ability to be a leader in creating ethical environments involves a commitment to lifelong learning about ethical issues, of which professional education is just the beginning. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Developing an Educational Foundation As noted, education in ethical theories, principles, rules, and moral concepts provides the foundation for develop- ing skills in ethical reasoning. Because the APN will apply these theoretical p1inciples in actual encounters with patients, it is imperative that consideration of the context in specific situations be strengthened. A portion of gradu- ate ethics education should involve discussion of typical issues encountered by APNs, rather than issues that receive extensive media attention but occur infrequently. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. Howard and Steinberg (2002) maintained that graduate curricula need to go beyond traditional ethical issues to encompass building trust in the APN -patient relationship, professionalism and patient advocacy, resource allocation decisions, individual versus population-based responsi- bilities, and managing tensions between business ethics and professional ethics. The latter three areas are crucial for developing the Phase 4 level of the ethical decision malting competency. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Continuing education programs are also effective and necessary forums in which current information can be provided in a rapidly changing health care environment. As technology changes and new dilemmas confront prac- titioners, the APN must be prepared to anticipate condi- tions that erode an ethical environment. Knowledge and skills in all phases of this competency depend on the appli- cation of current ethical knowledge in the clinical setting; ethical reasoning and clinical judgment share a common process and each serves to teach and inform the other (Dreyfus, Dreyfus, & Benner, 2009). Therefore, the impor- tance of clinical practice cannot be overemphasized. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Overview ofEthkal11wories Prillciple-Based ll1odel. Although ethical decision

making in health care is extensively discussed in the bio- ethics literature, two dominant models are most often applied in the clinical setting. The first model of decision maldng is a principle-based model (Box 13-2), in which ethical decision maldng is guided by principles and rules (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009). In cases of conflict, the principles or rules in contention are balanced and inter- preted with the contextual elements of the situation. However, the final decision and moral justification for actions are based on an appeal to principles. In this way,

Principles and Rules Important to Professional Practice

Principle’ofrespect,for autonomy: The duty to respect_othe1:s’ personal liberty and individual values, beliefs, and choices Principle-of ilorunaleficence: The duty not to inflict harm or evil Principle of beneficence: The duty to do good and pfevent or remove harm Principle of formal justice: The duty to treat equals equally and treat those who are_ t.lnequal according to their ne_eds Rule of veracity: The duty to tell the truth and not to deceive others Rukof fidelity: The duty to honor commitments Rule of confidentiality: The duty not to. disclose, information shared in ‘an intimate and tmSted manner Rule of privacy: The duty to respect limite<:l access to a_person

Adapted from Beauct1amp, T. L., & Childress, J. F. (2009). Principles of biomedical ethics (6th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

the principles are binding and tolerant of the particulari- ties of specific cases (Beauchamp & Childress). The prin- ciples of respect for persons, autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice are commonly applied in the analysis of ethical issues in nursing. The American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses (2001) has endorsed the principle of respect for persons and under- scores the profession’s commitment to serving individuals, families, and groups or communities. The emphasis on respect for persons throughout the code implies that it is not only a philosophical value of nursing, but also a binding principle within the profession. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Although ethical principles and rules are the corner- stone of most ethical decisions, the principle-based approach has been criticized as being too formalistic for many clinicians and lacldng in moral substance ( Gert, Culver, & Clouser, 2006). Other critics have argued that a principle-based approach conceals the particular person and relationships and reduces the resolution of a clinical case simply to balancing principles (Rushton & Penticuff, 2007). Because all the principles are considered of equal moral weight, this approach has been seen as inadequate to provide guidance for moral action ( Gett et al., 2006; Strong, 2007). In spite of these critiques, bioethical prin- ciples remain the most common ethical language used in clinical practice settings. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Casuistry. The second common approach to ethical decision maldng is the casuistic model (Box 13-3), in

Alternative Ethical

Casuistry Direct analysis of particular cases Uses previous paradigm cases to infer ethical action in a current case Analogues in common law and case law Values practical knowledge’ rather than theory (pretheoretical) Privileges experience

Narrative Ethics Supplements principles by emphasizing importance of full context Gathers views of all parties to provide more complete baSis for moral justification Story and narrator substitute for ethical justification, which emerges naturally Privileges stories. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Virtue-Based Ethics Emphasizes the moral agent, not the situation or the action Right motives and character reveal more about moral worth than right actions Character more important than conformity to rules

which current cases are compared with paradigm cases (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009; Jonsen & Toulmin, 1988; Toulmin, 1994). The strength of this approach is that a dilemma is examined in a context -specific manner and then compared with an analogous earlier case. The funda- mental philosophical assumption of this model is that ethics emerges from human moral experiences. Casuists approach dilemmas from an inductive position and work from the specific case to generalizations, rather than from generalizations to specific cases (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Concerns have also been raised regarding the use of a casuistic model for ethical decision making. As a moral dilemma arises, the selection of the paradigm case may differ among the decision makers and thus the interpreta- tion of the appropriate course of action will vary. In nursing, there are few paradigm cases of ethical issues on which to construct a decision making process. Further- more, other than the reliance on previous cases, casuists have no mechanisms to justify their actions. The possibil- ity that previous cases were reasoned in a faulty or inac- curate manner may not be fully considered or evaluated (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009)Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. In spite of these con- cerns, the case-based moral reasoning used in casuistry appeals to clinicians because it mimics clinical reasoning, in which providers often appeal to earlier similar cases to

CHAPTER 13 Ethical Decision Making

“‘ Righ~ motives make for right actions Privileges actor’s values and motives

Feminist Ethics Views women as embodied, fully rational, and having experiences relevant to moralt’easoning Emphasizes view of the disadvantaged-women and other underrepresented groups Emphasizes importance and value of openness to different perspectives Concerned with power differentials that create oppression Emphasizes importance of attention to the vulnerable and to resulting inequalities Privileges power imbalances

Care-Based Ethics Emphasizes creating and sust<i.ining responsive connection with others Emphasizes importance of context and subjectivity in discerning ethical action Sees individuals as interdependent rather than independent; focuses on parties in a relationshiP Privileges relationships. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

make clinical judgments. Artnak and Dimmitt (1996) applied the casuistic model to an analysis of a complex case, concluding that the use of this approach allows fuller consideration of the contextual particulars ofthe case and provides a systematic approach for organizing and analyz- ing the facts of the case. An adaptation of this approach has been developed by Jansen and colleagues (2010), sometimes referred to as the “four box” approach. These authors have advocated clustering patient information according to four key topics-medical indications, patient preferences, quality of life, and contextual features-and then using that information to resolve a dilemma. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Narrative Ethics. Because neither of these theoretical approaches have been seen as fully satisfactory, altern a- tives have emerged (see Box 13-3). Narrative approaches to ethical deliberation have evoked considerable interest (Charon & Montello, 2002; Nelson, 2004; Rorty, Werhane, & Mills, 2004). Narrative ethics emphasizes the particulars of a case or story as a vehicle for discerning the meaning and values embedded in ethical decision making. The argument is that all knowing is bound up in a narrative tradition and that all participants in ethical deliberations need the coherence and singular meaning given to a particular situation that only narrative knowledge can provide. Narrative ethics begins with a patient’s story and has some similarities with casuistry in its inductive. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper


338 PART II Competencies of Advanced Practice Nursing

particularistic approach. Critics of this approach have argued that although narrative is a necessary element in ethical analysis, it cannot supplant principle- or theory- based ethics (Arras, 1997; Childress, 1997). There is, howevet~ recognition that careful consideration of patient’s stories can enlarge and enrich ethical delibera- tions. In commenting on narrative versus principle-based approaches, Childress (1997) noted that “We need both in any adequate ethics” (p. 268). As with casuistry, narrative-based approaches appeal to nurses, who find much of the meaning in their work through entering into the stories of their patient’s lives. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Care-Based Ethics. Other approaches, such as virtue- based ethics, feminist ethics, and care-based ethics, provide alternative processes for moral reflection and argument (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009; Wolf, 1996), Historically, nursing ethics was virtue-based, with an emphasis on qualities necessary to be a virtuous nurse. Although this is no longer a dominant theme in nursing literature, it can still be seen. For example, Gallagher and Tschudin (2010) based their understanding of ethical leadership in professional values and virtues. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

The ethics of care has emerged as relevant to nursing (Cooper, 1991; Edwards, 2009; Lachman, 2012). The care perspective constructs the central moral problem as

Clinical Situation

To illustrate the different ethical approaches, consider the case of a 64-year-old man, GB, who is unable to speak for himself because of an aggressive brain tumor. He had seen a neurosurgeon 1 month prior to the current hospital adillission and was told that the tumor was inoperable. He has been undergoing outpatient radiation treatment and is now taken to his local hospital because of altered mental status. In the emergency room, his condition worsens; he is unable to communicate or breathe so he is started on mechanical ventilation and transferred to the ICU. Imaging shows that the tumor has continued to progress, despite radiation. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. The patient’s daughter requests that the patient be transferred to another facility for a second opinion from a different neurosurgeon. The social worker has a copy of the patient’s advance directive, completed prior to starting radiation, which states that he does not desire aggressive medical treatment if there is little hope of recovery. The team caring for the patient, including a staff nurse, resi- dent, attending physician, social worker, and CNS apply different ethical theories when they approach this case. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

The nurse adopts a principle-based approach, favor- ing patient autonomy and respect for persons, as empha- sized in the Code of Ethics for Nurses (ANA, 2001). He

sustaining responsive connections and relationships with important others, and consequently focuses on issues sur- rounding the intrinsic needs and corresponding responsi- bilities that occur in relationships (Gilligan, 1982; Little, 1998). In this approach, moral reasoning requires empathy and emphasizes responsibilities rather than rights. The response of an individual to a moral dilemma emerges from important relationship considerations and the norms of friendship, care, and love. Viens (1995) reported that NPs she interviewed used a moral reasoning process that mirrored Gilligan’s model in the major themes of caring and responsibility. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Although every ethical theory has some limitations and problems, an understanding of contemporary approaches to bioethics enables the APN to appeal to a variety of perspectives in achieving a moral resolution. In the clinical setting, ethical decision making most often reflects a blend of the various approaches rather than the application of a single approach. Although there is some danger in oversimplifying these rich and complex approaches, Exemplar 13-1 shows how they can be reflected in ethical decision making. A more thorough discussion of ethical theory is beyond the scope of this chapter, but the reader is referred to the references cited for more detail. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper


recognizes the daughter’s distress but believes that her desire to seek a second opinion comes from her own fear of losing her father and is not based on her knowledge of the patient’s wishes. Because the patient should be respected as a person, keeping him on life support or transferring him to another institution as a means to alleviate his daughter’s fears is unethical. The nurse believes that the daughter’s inability to support her father’s advanced directive renders her an inappropriate decision maker. The advance directive, as an indication of the patient’s autonomous wishes, should guide care. Because it clearly states the patient that does not wish to be kept alive with little hope of recovery, he favors with- drawal of ventilator support and institution of comfort measures only. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

The resident had a case a year ago, when she was still a medical student, in which a patient’s cancer was thought to be inoperable but a second opinion was sought and the patient went on to survive surgical inter- vention. This case, occurring early in her career in health care, profoundly influences her to support second opin- ions on complicated surgical cases. Applying a casuistry- based approach, the resident supports the daughter’s request and agrees to help her explore avenues for

CHAPTER 13 Ethical Decision Maldng

Clinical Situation Demonstrating Differing Ethical

transferring the patient for consultation with a different neurosurgeon on the slim chance that he may be eligible for additional treatment to prolong his life. She consults the social worker to assist in investigating the feasibility of transferring the patient. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

The attending physician adopts a care-based approach, privileging the relationships within the patient’s family. He himself has a long-standing relation- ship with the neurosurgeon who was previously con- sulted, and he trusts that a second opinion at an outside facility will not yield a different prognosis. He favors keeping the patient in his current setting, because trans- ferring him to a distant facility will take him far from his family, and their time with him is essentiaL He does not see any reason to withdraw mechanical ventilation but he also believes that initiating cardiopulmonary resusci- tation (CPR) would be futile and would disrupt the peaceful atmosphere his family deserves as they struggle with the loss of their father and grandfather. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. He there- fore convinces the patient’s daughter to agree to a do not resuscitate (DNR) order, and closes the discussion by encouraging her and the rest of the family to stay with the patient and to “be together at this crucial time:’ He also asks the ICU staff to relax the regulations regarding family visitation so that the daughter and her children can spend more time at GB’s bedside.

The social worker completes a lengthy assessment of the patient and family in response to the consult requested by the resident. In the process, she learns that the family has limited financial resources and that the patient’s daughter has a lOth-grade education. Prior to GB’s diagnosis, her only interactions with the health care system were the births of her three children. Her mother died when she was teenager and, for the past few years, her father has assisted her in the care of her children. The social worker views the attending physi- cian as condescending, and she hears one of the ICU nurses describe the daughter as “totally clueless:’ Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. Inter- preting the case from a feminist viewpoint, she worries that the family’s socioeconomic status and the daughter’s educational background are creating a bias against hon- oring the request for transfer. She is determined to advocate for the patient’s daughter to correct this power imbalance.

The CNS’s involvement in the case begins when the nurse consults her because his appeals to the resident and attending physician have failed to result in what he

believes is the right course of action-namely with- drawal of the ventilator. The CNS listens to the nurse’s story and attends carefully to the details he gives. She then seeks out the resident) attending physician, and social worker to hear their perspectives. She adopts a narrative-based approach and wants to hear all the con- textual features of the case before coming to a conclusion about the best course of action. When she speaks to GB’s daughter, she learns about the conversation that she had with her father shortly before he became unresponsive, in which he expressed a desire to attend her oldest child’s high school graduation. It is this conversation that led the patient’s daughter tO request a transfer for a second opinion: “I know he wants to Jive;’ she explains, “no matter what it says on that paper:’ Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Resolution of the Case The CNS calls a team meeting. She asks the members to work toward a consistent message that can be given to GB’s family because the contrasting views are dearly creating confusion. This request results in careful review of the clinical aspects of the case, including the most recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and brings the team to an agreement that the patient’s prog- nosis is poor and a second opinion from an outside neurosurgeon is not necessary to confirm this. The social worker has an opportunity to ask questions and is thus assured that the team was unaware of the daughter’s educational background and economic status and are not basing their care on these factors. The CNS then moves forward to establish a mutually acceptable plan of care. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

In a subsequent family meeting, the team explains the patient’s prognosis to the patient’s daughter using layman’s terms and simple pictures to clarify the growth of the tumor and its position. After addressing the family’s questions, the CNS presents two options- withdt•awing intensive care interventions or continuing to provide this care with the DNR order in place. She explains that the team has met separately to consider carefully the daughter’s request for transfer GB and determined that the risks of such a plan outweigh poten- tial benefits. The CNS ends the meeting with the family by offering them additional time to discuss their options and ask any further questions. After several days, the family elects to withdraw the ventilator and initiate comfort measures. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper


34D PART II Competencies of Advanced Practice Nursing

Professional Codes and Guidelines

The ANA’s Code of Ethics for Nurses (2001) describes the profession’s philosophy and general ethical obligations of the professional nurse. It describes broad guidelines that more reflect the profession’s conscience than provide specific directions for pa1ticular clinical situations. It provides a framework that delineates the nurse’s overrid- ing moral obligations to the patient, family, community, and profession. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Professional organizations delineate standards of per- formance that reflect the responsibilities, obligations, duties, and rights of the members. These standards also can serve as guidelines for professional behavior and define desired conduct. Although the general principles are relatively stable, professional organizations often reflect on specific or contemporary issues and take a proactive position on pivotal concerns. For example, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (2008) has issued a position paper on moral distress, acknowledging that it negatively affects quality of care and influences nurses who are considering leaving the profession.  Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. The paper then lists the responsibilities of nurses to address moral distress, some resources that can be helpful to them, and the obligations of nurses’ employers to offer support, such as employee assistance programs and ethics committees, to assist with managing moral distress. An additional example is the International Association of Forensic Nurses’ position paper (2009) supporting the use of emergency contraception for victims of sexual assault. This document provides ethical and clinical rationales for policies that permit dispensing of these medications. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Personal a11d Professional Values Individuals’ interpretations and positions on issues are a reflection of their underlying value system. Value systems are enduring beliefs that guide life choices and decisions in conflict resolution (Ludwick & Silva, 2000). Viens (1995) found that values were an essential feature of the everyday practice of the 10 primary care NPs she inter- viewed. Values of caring, responsibility, trust, justice, honesty, sanctity and quality of life, empathy, and religious beliefs were articulated by the study participants, often as ideals that motivated their actions. An awareness of per- sonal values generates more consistent choices and behav- iors; it can also assist APNs to be aware of the boundaries of their personal and professional values so that they can recognize when their own positions may be unduly influ- encing patient and family decision making. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Values awareness should include an understanding of the complex interplay between cultural values and ethical decision making (Buryska, 2001; Ludwig & Silva, 2000). When patient and family decisions contradict traditional

Western medical practice, health care providers may resort to coercive or paternalistic measures to influence patient’s choices to be more consistent with the provider’s values. APNs and other health care providers must under- stand that the assumptions they make may be based on their own cultural values and biases and understand how these assumptions may influence their recommendations of particular treatments. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper. As health care professionals gain an understanding of factors that guide a person’s deci- sions, treatment plans that reflect the patient’s value pref- erences are more easily developed. for example, a patient from a Southeast Asian culture may show respect to authority figures by obeying the APN’s treatment sug- gestions, even if he or she disagrees with the plan. In this situation, the APN could assure the patient that ques- tions about the plan of care are welcomed and are not disrespectful.

By the same token, claims made in the name of reli- gious and cultural beliefs are not absolute. Buryska (2001) offered helpful guidelines for clinicians to assess the defensibility of patient and family claims made in the name of cultural or religious considerations. For example, he maintained that spiritual or cultural claims grounded in an identifiable and established community are more defensible than those that are idiosyncratic to the person malting the claim. Although it is critical for caregivers to respond with respectful dialogue, support, and compas- sionate care, patient and family demands for treatment must be considered in relation to other claims that also have ethical weight-the professional integrity of provid- ers, legal considerations, economic realities, and issues of distributive justice. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Professional Bou1utaries In their professional capacity, APNs have access to per- sonal and private patient information and may develop long-term therapeutic relationships with many of their patients. The atmosphere of intimacy in the nurse-patient relationship, coupled with the need to touch the patient during a physical examination, sets up a power differential that accentuates the patient’s vulnerability (Holder & Schenthal, 2007). Boundaries must be established that acknowledge the appropriate and necessary use of this patient information and intimacy to meet the patient’s needs and provide care. The obligation to maintain profes- sional boundaries within a therapeutic relationship is shared with all nurses (ANA, 2001), but APNs are also in a position to observe for boundary violations by others and to intervene when they occur. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Boundary violations, in which the APN or another health care professional inadvertently or purposely breaches the limits and expectations of the relationship, may profoundly alter the foundation of a therapeutic

relationship. Such transgressions may be subtle, such as the APN sharing excessive personal information, or blatant, as in sexually seductive behavior. Regardless of the magnitude of the violation, the behavior must be con- fronted immediately and the culpable individual must be removed from interaction with the patient. Other members of the health care team should strive to restore the patient’s integrity and trust, involving the help of others as necessary (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2009). Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Phase 2: Knowledge Application The second phase of the core competency is applying the knowledge developed in the first level to the clinical practice arena. Phase 2 continues the APN’s journey in assessing ethical problems and being actively involved in the process of resolving ethical dilemmas. As APNs acquire core ethical decision making knowledge, the responsibility to take moral action becomes more compel- ling. Rather than retrospectively analyzing ethical dilem- mas, the APN takes moral action, which implies that the APN recognizes, pursues, and responds to ethical issues. Often, the inequities toward or infringements on other persons are enough to motivate moral action and a timely response can change the course in present and future situations. 1herefore, moral action should not be under- estimated as a core APN skill and should be recognized, fostered, and valued by others. Once an advanced nursing role is assumed, the APN accepts the responsibility to be a fUll participant in the resolution of moral dilemmas rather than simply an interested observer or one of many parties in conflict. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Although the core knowledge of ethical concepts pro- vides the foundation for moral reasoning, the application of these concepts enables the APN to develop the practical wisdom of moral reasoning. It is the experience in the practice setting and the courage of the APN to discuss sensitive issues openly that enable the APN to assume an active role in dispute resolution. The success and speed with which the APN gains these behavioral skills is related to the presence of mentors in the clinical setting and the willingness of the APN to become immersed in ethical discussions. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Institutional resources, such as ethics committees and institutional review boards, provide valuable opportuni- ties for APNs to participate in the discussion of ethical issues. Typically, hospital ethics committees serve three functions-policy formation, case review, and education. As a member of the ethics committee, the APN exchanges ideas with colleagues and gains an understanding of ethical dilemmas from a variety of perspectives. In addi- tion, the APN is informed of current legislation, regula- tions, and hospital policies that have ethical implications. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

CHAP T E R 13 Ethical Decision Making

This is an extremely valuable experience that can acceler- ate the development of ethical decision making skills.

Unfortunately, most APNs do not have the opportu- nity to serve on interdisciplinary ethics committees and, in some cases, may have few professional colleagues avail- able to mentor and develop the skills of ethical decision making. 1hus, the APN must advance this phase by actively seeking opportunities to engage in ethical dia- logue with professional colleagues. Professional organiza- tions offer materials such as The 4 AS to Rise Above Moral Distress (American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 2004) and workshops in which case studies are discussed and analyzed. This format is helpful to the inexperienced APN who needs guidance in applying knowledge to clini- cal cases. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Ethical Decision Making Frameworks Several authors have proposed a stepwise approach to ethical decision making (McCormick-Gendzel & Jurchek, 2006; Purtilo & Doherty, 2011; Rushton & Penticuff, 2007; Spencer, 2005; Weuste, 2005). In Box 13-4, the steps sug- gested by Purtilo and Doherty (2011) are listed as an example. The reader will note that this framework uses many elements of the various ethical approaches dis- cussed earlier in considering contextual factors, seeking full information on a case, and specifying a step that explicitly appeals to ethical theory. This framework for ethical decision making is intended for all health profes- sionals and therefore is applicable to a wide variety of situations. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Most frameworks for ethical decision malting include information gathering as a key step. Generally, informa- tion about the clinical situation, the parties involved, their obligations and values, and legal, cultural, and religious factors are needed. However, this factual information is not sufficient unless tempered with the contextual features of each case. Identifying the cause of the problem and determining why, where, and when it occurred, and who or what was affected, will help clarify the nature of the problem. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper

Problem identification is also a common step in most frameworks. Strong emotional responses to a situation can be the first signal that ethical conflict exists. However, many conflicts that arise in the clinical setting generate powerful emotional responses but may not be ethical issues. Ethical issues are those that involve some form of controversy about conflicting moral values and/or funda- mental duties or obligations. The APN must distinguish and separate moral dilemmas from other issues, such as administrative concerns, communication problems, and lack of clinical knowledge. For example, a communication problem between a stafi· nurse and physician may be resolved if an APN acts as a facilitator, ensuring that each. Analyzing an Ethical Decision in Nursing Essay – NURS 6565 Assignment Paper