Watson Jean Essay

1976 WordsFeb 16, 20138 Pages
ETHICAL THEORY IN CLINICAL NURSING PRACTICE Ethical principles can help us in the confusing array of decisions that we take every day. Situations that we face can be complex and/or distressing, with no simple single solution. Ultimately we have to make a decision based upon what we consider to be the best option under the circumstances. Sometimes that decision may be guided by tr)Mng to do the best for the many, while at other times it may be guided by following certain rules. There are four widely accepted ethical principles (Beauchamp and Childress, 1989; Table 1). They provide a framework for safeguarding the best interests of individuals and groups. Beneficence Beneficence is considered to be related to positive acts with an overall aim of doing good. An act of beneficence should contribute to another person's welfare, i.e. it involves making positive steps to help others. Dangers arise when such 'do gooding' is not actually sought or wanted or even needed by the recipient. The main aspect in health education in relation to beneficence is to ensure that the individual is Informed and understands the information and its full implications. Beneficence is a major element that encapsulates a 'duty to care'. It can also be considered to be the basis of the major accepted ethic within the nursing profession, i.e. caring. Non-maleficence implies that one should do no harm. It is strongly featured in the Hippocratic oath of medicine which Florence Nightingale translated into the nursing profession through the Latin words of Primum non nocere which means 'Above all (or first) do no harm.' This principle is closely related to the issue of informed consent. It is implicit that if consent is informed, then harm cannot be inflicted by a health educator as the individual is aware of the risks, implications, possible treatment, time factors and prognoses. Autonomy

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