Ethical Decision Making

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Ethical Decision Making
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Introduction
Just as nursing applies a systematic process for evaluating the condition of a given population to determine an appropriate intervention, health care providers must also utilize a systematic process to assess the nature of an ethical dilemma to determine a reasonable solution.
Ethical decisions are reasoned choices based on:
• The dilemma itself.
• The principles in conflict.
• The people involved.
• The outcome of the proposed action.
• The ethical reasoning process selected. Ethical Decision Making
It is helpful to use a decision-making model for ethical dilemmas in order to guide one's decision making from an objective, cognitive perspective, rather than a purely affective or emotional perspective. Uustal (1993) proposed the following steps to guide one's ethical decision making. Uustal's model not only follows the nursing process, but also includes values clarification when applying an ethical decision-making model.
Step 1: Identify the problem. Ask:
• Who are people involved in the dilemma?
• How are they related or interrelated?
• What is involved in the situation?
After answering the above questions, identify the ethical dilemma and make a concise statement of the problem. Then, state the conflict in values.
Step 2: State your values and ethical position related to the problem.
• How does the issue fit with your personal values?
• Are they congruent or incongruent?
Step 3: Take into consideration factors that relate to the situation and generate alternatives for resolving the dilemma.
Step 4: Examine and categorize the alternatives. Identify those that are consistent and inconsistent with your personal values.
If the most…...

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