Ethical Dilemma in Nursing

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Ethics refers to the moral values which guide our action. However, in the nursing profession, there arises ethical dilemma whereby the nurse has to choose between two opposing options (Health Portal, 2012). That is following his or her instinct or the nursing oath he had sworn allegiance. (Una Burns, 2014) Presents an ethical dilemma where a man is too sick and is willing to donate his organs to the sick boy (Jackson). The man, who is a serial killer, was aware that he had five days towards his death. On the other hand, the young boy is happy that there is someone to donate him the liver and intestines that he so many desires.

Therefore, the medical personnel has to make an informed decision on what is best for both patients. However, their decisions must comply with the nursing ethics and hospital procedures about such a transplant (Notyrparty, 2014).  Some of the ethical dilemmas in the video include the scenario where Jackson’s nurse has noted the condition of her patient is very critical. She would like to hasten the process of the transplant through unethical methods. However, this is against the morals that govern the nurses. There is also uncertainty as to whether the donor’s organs may match with the boys’ DNA (Notyrparty, 2014). I would first determine whether the organs were a perfect match. After that I would have persuaded the man to offer his organs and seek the assistance of a lawyer who would facilitate the agreement.  

Moreover, sound judgment and nursing oaths do not always conform. The nurse hopes that the boy gets the organs since he needs them more. However, the operation is against the hospital rules. The nurse tries to persuade the surgeon to undergo the transplant, but the surgeon sticks to the nursing ethics (Una Burns, 2014). If I were the surgeon, I would follow the man's wish. However, the transplant would be against the hospital laws. Therefore, I would seek assistance from hospital administration to explain the dilemma and the importance of my actions. 

There is also a dilemma concerning patient’s demands. The boy would like the nurse to give his mother good news to make her happy. Even though the actions would please the mother, nurses have to uphold ethics and honesty in their service to humanity (Health Portal, 2012).  I would have held a session with the parent and the son. The meeting would involve enlightening them of the hospital procedures. It is also essential to call an experienced counselor since the mother looked stressed.


 Nurses are at the core of every decision in the hospitals. They base their actions on the nursing oath. However, situations arise where ethical dilemma faces them and have to make tough choices. The decisions may endanger their career, and thus there judgment must be sound and well analyzed. 


Health Portal. (2012, January 25). Ethical Issues in Nursing Series: Introduction. .(Video File). Retrieved from

Notyrparty. (2014, November 24). Ethical dilemmas in healthcare settings.(Video File). Retrieved from

Una Burns. (2014, November 6). Situation Ethics. .(Video File). Retrieved from

October 13, 2023

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