Family Values and Needs Conflict in Nursing Ethics

Sometimes, nurses and doctors have to deal with relatives of people who might not survive. This is one of the most complicated tasks that medical workers have to accomplish regularly. The following paper will present a discussion of the case and the appropriate decision that a nurse must make – to break the rules and let a patient’s lover stay or to let her family in and remain innocent.

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Several alternatives can be followed in the presented case of family values:

  • Leave the lover in the room with the dying patient
  • Let the patient’s family in
  • Ask all the people to stay out of the room
  • Let the family and the lover meet.

I have chosen the first variant (to leave the lover). Although this woman lied that she was a sister to the patient, it was obvious that she loved the person that was about to die. It would be better to leave the woman in the room because the patient could have felt better after feeling this person close. My decision-making was affected by my principles to let the closest people stay with the ones they truly love to the last breath of theirs (Towsley, Hirschman, & Madden, 2015). All people have feelings that must be respected.


Indeed, as a nurse, this decision could cause me “moral distress” because I violated the rules of the hospital and prohibited the dying patient’s legal relatives from seeing her in the last minutes of her life. If I were taking care of the discussed patient, I would probably get lost at first because there were not many alternatives to choose from – any decision would make someone upset. However, the patient could have felt happy near the woman she sincerely loved within the last six years. In certain instances, it is acceptable to break different rules for patients’ benefits.


Towsley, G. L., Hirschman, K. B., & Madden, C. (2015). Conversations about end of life: Perspectives of nursing home residents, family, and staff. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 18(5), 421-428. Web.

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