Ethical Dilemmas In The Nursing Code Of Ethics

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Everyday nursing professionals are faced with ethical, moral, and legal dilemmas that impact patient care. Even greater challenges which involve ethical dilemmas with the availability of genetic testing. Through the years, government and professional agencies have evolved and created laws and practices on behalf of patients. The American Nurses Association has outlined specific professional boundaries and ethical obligations which are outlined in the Nursing Code of Ethics. These obligations include the responsibility to practice good judgment, alleviate suffering, and to promote healthy practices within the community, to name a few (p79). Nurses are to use the Code of Ethics as a guide for carrying out nursing responsibilities in a matter which is consistent with quality nursing care and the ethical obligations of the profession (ANA). To add to the complexity, are laws created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services known as Health Insurance Portability and …show more content…
Joan Smith, who is 43 years old and her sister. The sisters currently have a strained relationship and are not in good standing with the family. Mrs. Joan Smith has chosen to undergo genetic testing for breast/ovarian cancer at her local family practice. Joan tested positive for carrying the genetic gene of breast/ovarian cancer. By having the genetic gene, Joan knows her sister has a one in two chance of carrying the same gene mutation and carries the same significant risk of developing cancer as herself (Lea, 2008). Due to the strained relationship, Joan elects not to share the genetic testing results with her family. This writer is the nurse at the family practice involved in caring for Mrs. Joan Smith as well as her sister and mother. While laying all legal aspects aside and relying solely on ethical principles, this writer feels it is her ethical duty to act in the best interest of the uninformed sister and inform her of the genetic

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