The Ethical Dilemma Scenario: The Conflict in Values

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Step 1: Identify the problem

The stakeholders involved are the sick minor, two divorced parents, and the nurse who is suppose to commerce the treatment of the minor following the meningitis diagnosis. The mother of the minor opposes the proposed treatment or religious grounds while the father is supporting the treatment but require second medical opinion. There should be a quick decision to save the life of the minor. The ethical dilemma in the scenario is whether to go ahead with the treatment recommended or to honor the diverging opinion of the two divorced parents of the minor. The conflict in the values are refusal of treatment on religion ground, need for second opinion which will delay the treatment, and the emergency situation that should be addressed to save the minor.

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Step 2: My values and ethical position related to the problem

As a practicing nurse, my professional values are confidentiality, rationality, good communication, respect, and maximum support to fasten the recovery process of a patient (Pozgar, 2013). Unfortunately, the issues at hand are incongruent since I have to balance between saving the life of the minor and respecting the wishes of his parents. I am empowered by the code of conduct of nursing practice to save the life a patient (Hockenberry & Wilson, 2013).

Step 3: Factors that relate to the situation and alternatives for resolving the dilemma

There is need for consent from at least one parent before commencing the treatment. The available parent (mother) has refused to give consent while the father who has consented has also requested for second medical opinion before the treatment. The first alternative for resolving this dilemma is commencing the treatment because of the emergency situation. The second alternative is heeding to the advice of the father by delaying treatment until second medical opinion is issued.

Step 4: Examine and categorize the alternatives

The first alternative is consistent with my personal values as a nurse to save the life of the minor by commencing treatment as advice by a medical professional. It is my moral obligation to save the life of minor due to the emergency situation over any other opinion or decision. The second alternative will betray my moral authority to respond to emergency situation on the basis of the father’s directive, which is secondary to the advice after the diagnosis.

Step 5: All possible outcomes for acceptable alternatives

First alternative

The outcomes are recovery of the child, conflict with the mother, legal case against the parents in case the minor succumbs, and personal satisfaction in the event of recovery.

Second alternative

The outcome may be death of the minor, legal case against the hospital, and legal case against parents for denying the minor right to medical attention.

Step 6: Prioritize acceptable alternatives

  • The first alternative is ideal since it adheres to the ANA nursing ethics in handling emergency situation.
  • The second alternative delays treatment and may lead to death, hence least acceptable.

Step 7: Develop a plan of action utilizing the list of acceptable alternatives

The first step would be to advice the parent about the seriousness of the situation and persuade them for an immediate consent. Step two would be to inform the head nurse or relevant authority if the parents refuse to consent to immediate treatment. The third step would be to read the patient rights act to the parents before commencing the treatment in the best interest of the minor. The last step would be to call the parents and explain why the treatment action was necessary (Fowler, 2010).

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Step 8: Implement the plan

The plan will be implanted within the ANA nursing code of conduct in handling emergency. I will involve as many other medical personnel and hospital administration as a legal remedy for any eventual outcome. I will however keep the parents updated in each stage of treatment.

Step 9: Evaluate the action taken

I did the right thing by commencing treatment immediately in response to the emergency situation to save the life of the minor. The moral judgment exhibited in this situation can be described as a situational ethics since I activated the nursing code of ethics for nurses of 2010, which indicate that saving the life of a patient is primary to any other decision (American Nurses Association, 2015).


American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics. Web.

Fowler, M. (2010). Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses: Interpretation and Application. Silver Springs, MD: Nursebooks.

Hockenberry, M., & Wilson, D. (2013). Wong’s Nursing Care of Infants and Children Multimedia Enhanced Version (9th ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.

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Pozgar, G. (2013). Legal and ethical issues for health professionals. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

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NursingBird. (2022, July 2). The Ethical Dilemma Scenario: The Conflict in Values. Retrieved from


NursingBird. (2022, July 2). The Ethical Dilemma Scenario: The Conflict in Values.

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"The Ethical Dilemma Scenario: The Conflict in Values." NursingBird, 2 July 2022,


NursingBird. (2022) 'The Ethical Dilemma Scenario: The Conflict in Values'. 2 July.


NursingBird. 2022. "The Ethical Dilemma Scenario: The Conflict in Values." July 2, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "The Ethical Dilemma Scenario: The Conflict in Values." July 2, 2022.


NursingBird. "The Ethical Dilemma Scenario: The Conflict in Values." July 2, 2022.