Personal ethics is something that every individual has instilled in them and lives their life by. Personal, cultural, and spiritual values contribute to an individual’s worldview and philosophy of nursing, in the nursing practice. An ethical dilemma may arise when the individuals personal values, philosophy and worldview conflict with their obligation to nursing practice. Individual views and morals affect the behavior and decision’s made by each person. The health care field creates an environment that creates ethical dilemma’s based on the morals of each individual who practices nursing. My personal, cultural and spiritual beliefs stem from where I come from. I was born and raised on a farm, with two Catholic parents, all four of my grandparents within 2 miles, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, all in one small town of a thousand people. Living on a farm I learned hard work.
I learned discipline and how to care for things, because if I didn’t do my work, the animals would suffer. I learned about the Catholic religion, and how powerful faith is. I learned how to pray and forgive and ask for forgiveness. My Catholic background gave me a spiritual compass to follow. Being raised in a small town taught me the value of kindness and friendliness. Everyone said “hi” to everyone. When someone was sick, everyone would help. Neighbors shared things, as a farm family, we shared our equipment with others who weren’t able to buy their own. Being blessed to have all of my family so close taught me how valuable families, and their opinions are. It is this background that has motivated and inspired me my whole life. I have wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember; my dream has always been to be able to care for my patients and their families. My origin has offered me my own personal philosophy of nursing (and life).
I believe in serving the (health) needs of every individual, family, and community that I encounter, through a holistic approach, through and image that God has taught me, by showing compassion, equality, excellence, and value of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit). Being a nurse is not just a career that happens inside hospital doors, but a commitment to care for all people, all the time, with humility and respect. As a person and a nurse, I have an obligation to be responsible for my actions. I have a responsibility to be kind, honest, respectful and hard working for those individuals who trust me with their care. As nurses we took an oath, a pledge, to faithfully practice our profession. I will do all in my power, to make and maintain the highest standards and practices of my profession. I will devote myself to the welfare of my patients, families, and community. And I will continue to increase my knowledge and skills in nursing, and use them to the best of my ability.
I stand by my oath; it stands true to all that I believe in. I have faced ethical dilemma’s in my career when I am given an order that doesn’t abide by my beliefs, or when my patient refuses care that will help them. An ethical dilemma that seems to arise frequently occurs when a Jehovah’s Witness patient is critically ill due to anemia yet refuses any blood products to help them get better. My conflict in this situation is between respecting their religion and my devotion to helping them get better. Another ethical dilemma occurs when a patient tells me something in confidentiality, however reporting their story would keep the patient safe. Domestic abuse or neglect is an example of this, and unlike child or elderly abuse, is not required to be reported. As the nurse, it is best to understand all the facts and ask for guidance.
Various ethical dilemmas arise in healthcare, and each individual’s personal views affect their behavior and influence their decisions. Patients with difficult and uncooperative attitudes challenge the nurses ability to maintain appropriate care, however, it is necessary for nurses to maintain a professional and holistic patient/caregiver relationship. Assessment of the patient’s non-compliance may help the nurse understand the patient’s decisions. Most importantly, the nurse needs to maintain patience, understanding, and empathy towards their patients, in order to sustain holistic care. I have made it a point to self-examine myself as well, to maintain awareness of my own personal biases, values, desires and concerns which may influence my interactions with others.
A big struggle for me is caring for patients who bring illness unto themselves, and then refuse the help we offer them. For example, those who misuse drugs and alcohol, or refuse to take medications that are crucial for the health. I have to remind myself with these patients, to witness their illness without judgment of blame. I have to remind myself to set aside all biases so that I am able to effectively care for the patient and their families. I remind myself to understand that they are suffering human beings, who need my help. While I do not condone the actions that they made to end up in the condition they are in, I took an oath to do everything in my power to help them get better holistically.
Autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice are the important principles of ethics. My moral compass evolves from my origin, my education in nursing, and a true compassion for helping others. The verse the seems to always repeat in my head is from the Bible, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” My parents and grandparents always said that to me, and it has never left me. Each nurse has their own personal moral compass that guides how they care for their patients; each is unique and carries their own set of specific values. Personal, cultural and spiritual values create a professional moral compass that influences nursing care.