Ethical Issues in Mental Health Nursing

2633 Words Jul 18th, 2013 11 Pages
Professional Accountability

Analysis of a dilemma in practice
“Sally and the Health Visitor”

Dip HE Mental Health Nursing

Word count: 1,957.

Contents page

Introduction | 1 | Autonomy | 1 | Beneficence | 3 | Nonmaleficence | 4 | Justice | 4 | Conclusion | 5 | Bibliography | 6 |

Introduction
This discussion paper will look at the ethical issues surrounding decision making as nurses, in a given scenario (Sally and the health visitor). Ethics is defined by Johnstone (2008) as “A way to think about, judge and examine how to tackle moral life. It should help define what we ought to do, by considering and reconsidering actions”. This will be tackled using the ethical framework set out by Beauchamp and Childress (2009), this
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In terms of moral duty, whatever the Health visitor decides, should be told to Sally to maintain fidelity (Hendrick, 2004)
Sally’s feelings of anger and worry may be symptoms of a postpartum depression or a psychosis (ICD-10 v.2010). This possible disorder may have incapacitated Sally from making rationale decisions, as her picture of reality may be distorted (ICD-10 v.2010). DH (2009a) guidelines also state that if decisions are based on a mis-perception of reality, not due to culture or religion for example, then it is said that the person lacks capacity. Johnstone (2009) comments that mental illness can impair ones capacity to make decisions, she cites Brock and Buchanan (1989) stating that when such choices arise, three points should be considered. These points are, protecting and promoting the patients wellbeing; promoting and protecting the patients right to, and interest in exercising self-determining choices; and protecting others who may come to harm by the patients harm-causing choices. It is also noted however, that mental illness does not always cause people to be incapacitated; mental capacity can fluctuate, and should be tested where there is doubt, at the time of making the decision (MCA, 2005). It would appear, that Sally has some insight that her feelings could be considered a risk, as she has chosen to inform the health visitor of the situation, therefore making her choices autonomous (Beauchamp and Childress, 2009).
This paper will…