Analyzing an Ethical Decision essay example

Analyzing an Ethical Decision essay example

• Select one of the articles you found that was published within the last 5 years to use as a focus for this assignment.
• Summarize the moral/ethical issue in the article (no more than 1 paragraph).
• Describe the moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding the issue.
• Analyze the ethical issue and compare them to the state health laws and regulations in your state.
• Outline the process of ethical decision making you would use to address this ethical dilemma


Analyzing an ethical decision

Introduction and purpose

Although ethics can be considered as the study of foundational social values as presented in a community, it is linked to critical thinking and how to subjectively interpret a situation. Applying critical thinking ensures that each individual will develop a unique awareness of ethics, determining what is right and wrong based on subconsciously held values and beliefs. This means that an awareness of ethics and morality must first be preceded to collect and analyze information, and interpret in into good and bad or right and wrong (Ruggiero, 2015). Analyzing an Ethical Decision essay example. The present analysis evaluates the notion of ethics and morals in nursing, applying critical thinking to argue about the ethics of health decisions.

Summary of the moral/ethical issue in the article

Latha (2010) discusses the ethics surrounding the decision that the must make when a patient refuses medication. Although covert medication is extensively applied when the patient’s insight, autonomy and competence in making decisions is questioned, there are both ethical and legal implications. That is because covert medication is not justifiable simply to escape care giving burdens or calm troublesome patients. At the core of nurse’s service delivery is the duty to ensure the patient’s wellbeing even when the competence to offer an informed consent is questionable. From an ethical perspective, covert medication can be viewed as the nurse actively breaching the patient’s trust. Other than contravening existing ethical practice principles, it also raises legal issues since covert medication is only legally permitted if the law expressly offers authority for that to proceed if the patient (includes parent or guardian) is incompetent and incapable of making the decision. Analyzing an Ethical Decision essay example. To be more succinct, covert medication for juvenile patients presents an ethical dilemma because it contravenes the principle surrounding respect for autonomy and questions parens patriae jurisdiction of the courts as the nurse arbitrarily takes over this role.

Description of the moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding the issue

The issue of whether or not a juvenile patient should be subjected to covert medication attracts a lot of ethical debate. That is because on one hand, the nurse has the responsibility of ensuring the patient’s wellbeing while on the other hand the nurse is expected to respect the patient’s autonomy and allow the courts to maintain their parens patriae jurisdiction. As such, the nurse is forced to make a decision between improving the juvenile patient’s health and respecting individual rights and legal tenets in place. These are issues that must be taken into consideration when determining whether or not covert medication should be applied.

Analyze and compare ethical issue to Maryland State health laws and regulations

Parens patriae is a doctrine that allows the State to take legal and physical responsibility for a juvenile who is recognized as being incapable of making competent decisions. In literal terms, the concept implies that the state becomes the parent of the patient with the responsibility of making decision on behalf of the patient. This means that the court can either make the decision on behalf of the incapacitated patient or appoint an independent party as a guardian to make the decision. It is notable that the doctrine does not deny parties with prior legal rights from exercising their rights. This means that parents retain the right to make decisions about the juvenile’s medication and the court can only override their right on a case-by-case basis (CustodyZen, 2017). Overall, it is clear that covert medication is an issue that should be left for the court to decide if the patient is incompetent and cannot make the decision Analyzing an Ethical Decision essay example.

Outline the process of ethical decision making to apply

Even as nurses deal with ethical issues within their professional capacity, they must contend with the patients’ rights, particularly their right to autonomy. Additionally, they must contend with the legal principle of parens patriae and the position that courts hold in making decisions for incompetent patients (Marquis & Huston, 2014). Analyzing an Ethical Decision essay example. Let us consider the case of a 15-year-old boy who has been diagnosed with a mental ailment that requires regular doses of a prescription medication. The boy’s parents are against him receiving any form of medication. The fact is that the nurse has a duty to ensure that any patient within his/her care receives the best possible care that ensures good health even as allowances are made for personal choices. In this case, the first issue would entail explaining the concept of medication to the parents, what it entails, application, and importance. If the discussion does not convince the parents that the boy needs to receive medication to manage his medical ailment, then the next step would entail referring the case to family counselors. Under no circumstance can the nurse covertly medicate the patient without receiving express permission from the parents to do that even if it means that the child is placed at risk. Rather, the only course of action would entail approaching the court under legal principle of parens patriae and getting permission to have the child medicated. Analyzing an Ethical Decision essay example.



CustodyZen (2017). Parens Patriae. Retrieved from

Latha, K. (2010). The Noncompliant Patient in Psychiatry: The Case For and Against Covert/Surreptitious Medication. Mens Sana Monogr., 8(1), 96-121. doi: 10.4103/0973-1229.58822

Marquis, B. & Huston, C. (2014). Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing: Theory and application (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Ruggiero, V. (2015). Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. Analyzing an Ethical Decision essay example.


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