“Ethical Issues in Nursing Practice” by M. Park

While the development of medical technology provides opportunities for better patient outcomes, it also raises ethical and legal concerns that deal with patient integrity and autonomy (Park, 2009). This research discovers the ethical issues faced by nurses in hospitals. The reported ethical issues fall into three categories such as “end-of-life treatment decisions, patient care issues, and human rights issues” (Park, 2009, p. 69). The research revealed the fact that patient care and human rights issues are more frequent than end-of-life issues. One of the spreads patient care issues is limited access to care due to staffing patterns. Other issues influencing patient care are conflict in nurse-doctor relationships, distribution of human or financial resources, patient’s privacy, and nursing incompetence (Park, 2009). As for the issue of human rights, the most common categories deal with “protecting patient rights and human dignity,” “providing care with possible risk to RNs’ health,” and “informed consent to treatment” (Park, 2009, p. 70). The end-of-life ethical issues are mainly related to “prolonging the dying process with inappropriate measures” (Park, 2009, p. 72).

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To address these ethical and legal issues, nurses develop corresponding strategies and approaches. In most cases, nurses apply their values in controversial ethical situations. Also, nurses admit that discussion of ethical problems with colleagues is also an effective strategy. In addition to colleagues, higher administrative authorities can assist in resolving ethical and legal issues (Park, 2009). Some nurses mention ethics committees that can be consulted, but such cases are not frequent. Finally, some nurses admit the necessity of additional education on professional responsibility, patient rights, and ethical decision-making to be more competent in solving ethical problems.


Park, M. (2009). Ethical issues in nursing practice. Journal of Nursing Law, 13(3), 68-77. Web.

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