Ethics in Nursing Essay

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Deontology vs. Utilitarianism Deontology is an ethical theory concerned with duties and rights. The founder of deontological ethics was a German philosopher named Immanuel Kant. Kant’s deontological perspective implies people are sensitive to moral duties that require or prohibit certain behaviors, irrespective of the consequences (Tanner, Medin, & Iliev, 2008). The main focus of deontology is duty: deontology is derived from the Greek word deon, meaning duty. A duty is morally mandated action, for instance, the duty never to lie and always to keep your word. Based on Kant, even when individuals do not want to act on duty they are ethically obligated to do so (Rich, 2008). Kant believed consequences were irrelevant and an…show more content…
Kant believed duties were absolute and unconditional and called them categorical imperatives. A categorical imperative is all people have a “perfect” duty in that if their actions were universalized, there would be no contraindications. An example is you came to a fork in the road and you had to make a decision to either go left or right. Whatever decision you made at that moment in time, you would have to make it a law by universalizing it. A nursing example would be a 19 year old girl was in the critical care unit in the hospital and is terrified. Hospital policy states they only allow visit every three hours for five minutes in the critical care unit. The girl is begging the nurse to allow her parents to stay with her. The nurse follows deontology, and will not allow the parents to stay because it is against the rules. In contrast with deontology, there is utilitarianism, which is a consequentialist theory. Utilitarianists consider consequences to be an important indicator of the moral value of one’s actions (Rich, 2008). In consequentialist analyses, conclusions about what is right or wrong are based on the consequences (Tanner et al., 2008). Utilitarianism is to promote the greatest good for the greatest amount of people that is possible in situations. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart

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