Clinical Ethical Dilemma in Nursing

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Learning objectives

  • To understand the significance of ethical dilemmas in health practice.
  • To apply ethical theories in nursing.
  • To understand the importance of ethical principles in healthcare.
  • To develop evidence-based nursing concepts.
  • To appreciate the importance of multidisciplinary teams in medical practice.


  • Nurse practitioners (NPs) encounter numerous ethical challenges.
  • Such predicaments can affect the nature of care delivery.
  • NPS should be ready to address the ethical concerns affecting their practices (Wagner & Dahnke, 2015).
  • This presentation gives a detailed summary of a clinical ethical dilemma.
  • The outline describes how the ethical issue was addressed.

Clinical ethical situation

  • The ethical dilemma was a suicide attempt.
  • The situation involved a teenage boy aged 14 years.
  • The teenager took large doses of drugs.
  • The situation was challenging due to the family’s religious foundations.
  • The ultimate goal was to support the patient and his family.

Ethical dilemma characteristics

  • The patient was having communication problems with his peers.
  • The boy chose to commit suicide.
  • However, he did not want his parents to be informed about the situation.
  • The religious beliefs of the family were against any form of suicide.
  • The parents found it hard to forgive their son.

Ethical principle violated

  • The outstanding principle violated in the situation is supporting and respecting a client’s religious beliefs (Parahoo, 2014).
  • The teenager did not want his situation disclosed.
  • The practitioner chose to inform the parents about the situation.
  • The scenario presented a greater challenge.
  • The parents could not believe what had happened.

Barriers to ethical practice

  • NPS should uphold and respect their clients’ religious values.
  • The ethical practice could not be upheld due to the nature of the situation.
  • Failure to disclose the right information could catalyze more suicide attempts.
  • It would be wrong to tell lies to the parents.
  • These barriers forced the NP to make the most appropriate decision.

The ethical theory used to influence the situation as an FNP

  • Utilitarian theory informed the decision undertaken by the practitioner.
  • The theory supports happiness for the largest number of persons (Parahoo, 2014).
  • It was appropriate to support the patient’s healing process.
  • Informing the parents would encourage them to support the process.
  • The ultimate goal was to ensure the teenager was supported psychologically.

Self-reflection: Emotions, thoughts, and overall reaction

  • This ethical dilemma explains why nurses should maximize health outcomes.
  • Patients might focus on their family values and ignore their health conditions.
  • Religious beliefs are critical in healthcare practice.
  • The scenario encouraged me to play the role of an advocate.
  • I appreciated the importance of collaboration and multidisciplinary teams to deliver quality care (Wagner & Dahnke, 2015).

Handling a similar situation as an FNP

  • Utilitarianism is a concept that seeks to maximize happiness for all.
  • FNPs should always be ready to address the health needs of their clients.
  • I would therefore address a similar situation using the same approach.
  • The ultimate goal is to support the health of my client.
  • The involvement of different professionals can create a neutral ground and promote better health outcomes (Ma, Batterham, Calear, & Han, 2016).


  • Religious beliefs are critical in healthcare.
  • FNPs must uphold the best principles and values.
  • Evidence-based ideas can guide FNPs to deal with ethical dilemmas.
  • Ethical dilemmas should empower NPs to become better caregivers.
  • The inclusion of more persons in the care delivery process maximizes patient outcomes (Ma et al., 2016).


Ma, J., Batterham, J., Calear, L., & Han, J. (2016). A systematic review of the predictions of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior. Clinical Psychology Review, 46(1), 34-45. Web.

Parahoo, K. (2014). Nursing research: Principles, process and issues (3d ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wagner, M., & Dahnke, D. (2015). Nursing ethics and disaster triage: Applying utilitarian ethical theory. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 41(4), 300-306. Web.

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Work Cited

"Clinical Ethical Dilemma in Nursing." NursingBird, 26 Mar. 2021,


NursingBird. (2021) 'Clinical Ethical Dilemma in Nursing'. 26 March.


NursingBird. 2021. "Clinical Ethical Dilemma in Nursing." March 26, 2021.

1. NursingBird. "Clinical Ethical Dilemma in Nursing." March 26, 2021.


NursingBird. "Clinical Ethical Dilemma in Nursing." March 26, 2021.