The Role Of Ethical Issues In Nursing

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To Immunize or Not To Immunize, That Is the Ethical Question
An Ethical Introduction
Aldo Leopold said “Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching even when doing the wrong thing is legal”. As healthcare providers, our patients place a great deal of trust in us to practice ethical medicine (Battie, 2015, p. 505). We, as nurses, have access to intimate parts of patient’s lives, and are looked upon to help educate patients in their decisions towards appropriate healthcare. Guided by a code of ethics, nurses serve to protect, prevent and avoid ethical harm to patients, while having the responsibility to strive for better preventative healthcare as opposed to illness centered care (Kangasniemi, Pakkanen, & Korhonen,
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Beneficence occurs next in the ethical principles, involving the nurses’ responsibility to avoid harming a patient. As stated above, it is our obligation to avoid and prevent harm. The question then arises, by allowing a child to be unimmunized or under immunized, are we not doing a great disservice to the rest of the community? By such, that as more and more children go unimmunized, the level of immunity decreases causing concern of an epidemic. Whereas illness was not previously seen before since people had been vaccinated. Unfortunately, then even under-immunized patients become a hazard to those with decreased immune systems and other children (Kaplan, 2015, p. 15). Our responsibility shifts not only educate but to encourage patients and parents without shaming them. If one of the definitions of ethics is the greatest good for the largest number of people, then immunizing has greater benefits then not immunizing in regards to preventing an outbreak of a preventable…show more content…
Justice is described as treating everyone fairly (Finkelman & Kenner, 2016, p. 175). One could interpret this as either everyone is vaccinated or none at all. But how do we separate those who refuse even mandatory requirements. We do not shame others for not washing their hands or not covering their months when they cough (Kaplan, 2015, p. 15). Why would we treat those choosing to not be immunized any different? We would only cause them to retreat into other avenues of schooling, employment or even healthcare. What then is the answer?
The truth then becomes the vital role in the argument, whichever way the argument may lean. Veracity or truth, as the four ethical principle, becomes the deciding factor. Parents and patients alike are undereducated and overwhelmed. With the misinformation on the internet and the misguidance of friends and family, it becomes easily confusing to determine the right approach to immunizing children and even ourselves. Fully informing patients of the benefits and potential side effects allows them the make educated if not informed decisions on their healthcare and overall wellbeing.
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