Legal and Ethical issues

Legal and Ethical issues

  • Ethics: A branch of philosophy that deals with distinguishing right from wrong
  • Bioethics: Term applied to ethics when they refer to concepts within the scope of medicine, nursing, and allied health
  • Moral behavior: Conduct that results from serious critical thinking about how individuals should treat others
  • Values: Personal beliefs about what is important and desirable
  • Values clarification: A process of self-exploration by which people identify and rank their own personal values
  • Right: A valid, legally recognized claim or entitlement, encompassing both freedom from government interference or discriminatory treatment and entitlement to a benefit or service
  • Utilitarianism states that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of the majority.
    • The organ transplant team prioritized the patients selected to receive an organ donation. Thus, a person who has a good chance of surviving the surgery and living for several years will be chosen for the organ transplant while a client who is critically ill, who may not survive the surgery, does not receive the organ donation.
  • Kantianism states that decisions and actions are bound by a sense of duty; and that moral judgements are based on law and avoids pleasure/emotions.
  • Natural law theories: Do good and avoid evil. Human knowledge of the difference between good and evil directs decision-making.
  • Ethical egoism are decisions based on what is best for the individual making the decision.
  • Ethical dilemmas are situations that require individuals to make a choice between two equally unfavorable alternatives
    • Patient that had signed a DNR, during a crisis tells the nurse that they change their mind.


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