Example Of An Ethical Dilemma In Advanced Practice Registered Nursing

In the medical field, especially as a nurse, we might be faced with several ethical dilemmas that put us in positions that are tricky to handle. The nursing code of ethics has several stipulations that have to be followed to the latter so as not to risk losing the license of operation and most importantly not putting the patient’s life at risk(American Nurses Association, 2001).

There are quite a number of dilemmas that we might face. For instance, after an operation, a patient needs to be injected with a pain relieving drug so as to ease the pain from the wound. A drug like tramadol may be used in this case to ease the pain. Some of the patients react negatively to this drug much worse than expected like sweating, flushing, increased heart rate, vomiting and drowsiness of acute onset.In this case, an antidote such as naloxone has to be administered so as to counteract the effect from the tramadol, for instance. This drug has to be prescribed by the doctor as the nurse code of ethics do not allow the nurse to administer any drug to the patient without the consent of the doctor. The drugs have to be taken from the pharmacist who can’t give out the drug unless there is a prescription from the doctor.

This is a dilemma that is hard to handle especially when the doctor is not near to give the prescription. In this case, a temporary solution can be undertaken. The nurse has to go through the patient’s records to see if they had been prescribed Intravenous fluids such as Normal Saline which were to be administered after the operation. On confirmation that this can be administered, the Intravenous fluids can be administered to help the patient from having the adverse effects of tramadol. Meanwhile, the nurse manager can be informed so that a doctor can be contacted to provide a solution to this situation.

The benefits of this will be that the patient’s life can be saved. It will also save the family and friends around from undergoing continuous worries and panic. The cost of this will not be higher since the fluids are not much costly. The cost might however rise abit compared to the previous cost.

The move to give the patient the antidote will be opposed right from the nurse manager to the pharmacist who is supposed to issue the drug. The issuance of the fluids might also face an opposition from the pharmacist in cases they were not prescribed before. The nurses’ code of ethics however does not allow the nurse to do totally nothing just because they do not have authority to attend to the patient directly. Help should be sought to help save the patient’s life(American Nurses Association, 2001). In this case, a mild form of help would be used since it does not have adverse impact to the patient. This can be done as the doctor is being waited for to give a more precise solution.


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