Pediatric nursing is among the most rewarding professions within a field with a lot of options. However, with that enjoyment, cases of ethical dilemmas as well as moral distress can arise. An ethical dilemma mainly occurs when options involve some conflicting moral claims. In most cases, Pediatric nurses are in a unique position when it comes to the responsibility to their patients as children lack the maturity as well as the legal right to consent to their care (Krautscheid, 2014).
Pediatric care providers face numerous dilemmas, but the main one has to do with the end of life care. This is mainly within the patients that are nearing the end of life where the nursing intervention increases suffering without noticeably enhancing the child’s prognosis. The nurses mainly worry about whether or not the patient’s concerns are heard and addressed and if the patient is informed when it comes to the treatment options. Every parent wants the best for his or her child, but the vision sometimes prevents the care provider from offering the best services to the child. On the other hand, the care provider has to ensure that the child is comfortable and has to treat the child as a respected human being. This means that the care provider has to win the trust of the parent while at the same time trying to win the trust of the child. This leads to an ethical dilemma as both the parent and the child are of importance to the care provider (Mallari, Grace & Joseph, 2016).This dilemma involves the care provider and the family.
The ethical principle related to this dilemma include American Nurses Association Code of Ethics that indicates that a nurse should be responsible for advocating, promoting and striving to protect the safety, rights and the health of the patient while still being committed to the family of the patient. The second code of ethics is that the nurse under the first provision should practice, with respect and compassion for the inherent worth and dignity of every person. His primary commitments are to the patient while at the same time considering the rights of the patient’s family.
The ethical principles relate to the dilemma in different ways. For instance, the right to self-determination and the right of the patient involves the philosophical basis for informed consent when it comes to health care. The child in the case is not in a position to determine what will be done to him and this is where the parent comes in. The parent will be given complete, accurate and understandable information relating to the child that will assist in making the judgments. From the second principle, the nurse is supposed to practice with respect for the dignity of the child, unrestricted by consideration of personal attribute (Epstein & Turner, 2015).The relationship between the nurse and the child should be based on the needs of the child. This means that the nurse has to consider the rights of the child while still trying to gain the parent trust.
As the situation developed, the parent had to be a surrogate decision-maker because the child could not make any decision. The nurse had to support the child’s self-determination through engaging in discussion with the surrogate decision-maker while still maintaining the trust between the parent and the child. This led to collaboration between the nurse and the parent to attain the shared goal (Krautscheid, 2014).
Some of the resources and services that were available include an ethics consultation where ethic professionals assisted in identifying, analyzing and resolving the ethical dilemma through information gathering as well as discussions. The professionals also assisted in clarifying the clinic policies that applied to different situations. Additionally, the clinic provided access to outside perspectives concerning the dilemma which encouraged open-mindedness within the professionals.
- Epstein, B., & Turner, M. (2015). The nursing code of ethics: Its value, its history. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 20(2).
- Krautscheid, L. C. (2014). Defining professional nursing accountability: a literature review. Journal of Professional Nursing, 30(1), 43-47.
- Mallari, M. S. N., Grace, M., & Joseph, D. (2016). Ethical Frameworks for Decision-Making in Nursing Practice and Research: An Integrative Review.