Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing

Topic: Medical Ethics
Words: 351 Pages: 1

The responsibility taken by a nurse when interacting with patients and colleagues requires a thorough reconsideration of ethical norms and appropriateness in every patient scenario. The vast majority of ethical dilemmas arise from the nurses’ belief that exhaustive knowledge of the basic provisions outlined in the Code of Ethics is enough to secure a quality experience for the patients. However, while the Code of Ethics itself provides health professionals with directions on how to act in the presented scenarios, every patient case is a unique endeavor that requires an unbiased evaluation and intervention.

When speaking of personal experience, one of the most challenging dilemmas faced during the years of practice was the issue of disclosing sensitive information about the patients’ health conditions to their relatives. It is a generally accepted scenario that such information shall only be disclosed without the patient’s consent in case it is important for legal institutions or the public (Antonytheva et al., 2021). However, sometimes the subjective perception of the patient’s situation stands in the way of rational reasoning, and nurses are willing to share certain information in order to seek timely intervention and family support. Undeniably, seeing a patient who is embarrassed to share certain information because they are afraid of being a burden to the family is painful for a health professional, as we strive for maximum efficiency in terms of practice. In many cases, I had to battle myself in order not to share the information I was explicitly asked to keep confidential.

Later, I realized that even the slightest disappointment of the patient is a risk to the potential trusting relationship with the nurse. Apart from potential legal consequences, it is important to remember that a confidentiality breach may result in psychological harm manifested in the form of embarrassment or guilt (Finkelman & Kenner, 2019). Thus, it may be concluded that confidentiality, although sometimes hard to comprehend by nurses, always remains the patient’s inherent right that should not be placed in various contexts in order to be proved reasonable. The only aspect worth considering is the fact that it is a patient’s will.


Antonytheva, S., Oudshoorn, A., & Garnett, A. (2021). Professional intimacy in nursing practice: A concept analysis. Nursing Forum, 56(1), 151-159.

Finkelman, A., & Kenner, C. (2019). Professional nursing concepts: Competencies for quality leadership (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Ethical Theory of Providing Care to Patient
Effective Communication Between Medical Professionals