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PHI30008 Ethics

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PHI30008 Ethics

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Course Code: PHI30008
University: Swinburne University Of Technology

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Country: Australia

Critically analyse an ethical issue/ dilemma that you may encounter within your role as an Enrolled Nurse. Types of issues/dilemma you could select from are as follows
• abortion
• tissue transplantation
• reproductive technology
• organ donation
• euthanasia and assisted suicide
• restraint
• open disclosure
• mandatory reporting
• quality of life
• conscientious objection
• abuse
• consent
• artificially prolonging life
• refusal and withdrawal of treatment
• stem cell research
• ‘not for resuscitation orders’
• Cultural and religious matters Use the 5 steps of the “framework for moral decision making” as your analysis to fully explore the issue.
Include and discuss the:-
• Moral and ethical considerations
• Legal obligations and issues
• Professional obligations and issues as these apply to you as an Enrolled Nurse.

An Enrolled Nurse as a professional is always faced with the dilemma of whether to report and prevent physical elder abuse or not which is a critical decision in safeguarding the health of the elderly. Physical abuse of the elderly involves the act of applying physical force and/or violence on elders leading to impairment, injury, pain and bodily harm (Dong, 2017). There are several ethical approaches that an Enrolled Nurse can use to decide on solving the dilemma of whether to report and prevent cases of physical elder abuse or not in a healthcare setting. These include; the utilitarian approach, the rights approach, the fairness approach, common good approach, and the virtue approach.
The utilitarian approach emphasizes that an ethical action is one that leads to most good and/or least harm. This approach looks at the consequences of a given action. The action that produces the most good, and/or least harm to those affected is the ideal ethical one (“A Framework for Ethical Decision Making,” 2018). In this regard, an Enrolled Nurse can decide to report and prevent cases of physical elder abuse in a healthcare setting considering that this would bring about the safety of this cohort. This will minimize likely hospital costs and minimize the chances of acquiring life-threatening injuries for all the elderly patients under care.
The rights approach dictates that an action is ethical when it protects the moral rights of a given individual. In this regard, any action that works in favor of the rights of the elderly under the care of the Enrolled Nurse should be considered ethical. Reporting and preventing cases of physical abuse protect the elderly by for instance granting them their right to autonomy and the right not be injured. Autonomy allows the elderly to make any choices on their own without being forced by violent means (Corey & Callanan, 2015). As such, an Enrolled Nurse must consider using this approach putting in place preventive measures against physical elder abuse.
Thirdly, the fairness approach also known as the justice approach considers an issue to be ethical if it is just, from the perspective of those affected. All human beings must be exposed to equal treatment unless there is a defensible standard to treat some differently (Dong, 2017). An Enrolled Nurse, should opt to treat the elderly patients the same way they should treat all patients. This includes protecting them from physical abuse while ensuring their safety in the nursing home.
The common good approach stipulates that it is important to show compassion and respect in every action that can be considered ethical. There is a need to provide conditions that ensure the welfare of everyone. In this regard, an ethical action or condition is one that considers the aspect of the common good. This goes hand in hand with the principle of beneficence which emphasizes that healthcare professional do good to clients such as the elderly through understanding these individuals holistically (“Elder Abuse and Its Prevention: Workshop Summary,” 2014). This includes understanding their beliefs, wishes, and feelings, including those of their families.  Thus in contributing to the life in the community, an Enrolled Nurse should put in place measures that prevent cases of physical elder abuse.
The virtue approach as the last way of guiding ethical decision making stipulates that an ethical action must be in line with virtues which offer full development of humanity. Such virtues include honesty, tolerance, self-control, integrity, compassion, love among others (Pozgar, 2016). In acting to the best of their character, an Enrolled Nurse must show compassion, love, integrity, and tolerance to elderly patients by protecting them from physical abuse. Other healthcare professionals handling the elderly must also be called upon to act at the best of their character by upholding the above virtues.
While Australia does not have a comprehensive legislation specific for elder abuse, there are several independent legislations that can inform decision making on the dilemma of physical elderly abuse.  These include the Criminal Law, and Common Law & Equity. Relevant statutory protections include; Powers of Attorney Act, Domestic and Family Violence Act, and the Peace and Good Behaviour Act.   An Enrolled Nurse can, for instance, be guided by the Peace & Good Behavior Act (1982), which protects anyone’s right to not only peace and quiet but also to non-disturbance by threats to their wellbeing and quality of life (Lewis,2004). This means that an Enrolled Nurse has the legal obligation of protecting the rights of every patient under their care including the elderly patients at risk of physical abuse.
In conclusion, thus, Australia classifies every individual over 65 years of age as an elder. This cohort faces physical abuse including assault, battery, shoving, and even punching from both family and other people around them (Dong, 2017). While there are five different approaches that that can be used for ethical decision-making discussed, the rights approach is the most relevant to the case of preventing physical elder abuse. An Enrolled Nurse can thus consider this approach to deciding on the dilemma of whether to report and prevent cases of physical elder abuse. The legislations highlighted can as well help in guiding the best decision regarding this particular ethical issue.
List of References
A Framework for Ethical Decision Making (2018). Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Better Choices [online] Available at: https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/a-framework-for-ethical-decision-making/ [Accessed 17 Aug. 2018].
Corey, G., & Callanan, P. (2015). Issues and ethics in the helping professions with 2014 ACA codes. 7th Edition. Australia ; Pacific Grove, CA : Brooks/Cole/Thomson Learning.
Dong, X. (2017). Elder abuse: research, practice, and policy. Cham, Switzerland : Springer International Publishing : Springer Nature. Available at https://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=4812047
Lewis, R. (2004). Elder law in Australia. Chatswood, N.S.W., LexisNexis Butterworths.
Elder Abuse and Its Prevention: Workshop Summary.(2014). – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24624478 [Accessed 17 Aug. 2018].
Pozgar, G. D. (2016). Legal and ethical issues for health professionals. 4th Edition. Burlington, MA : Jones & Bartlett Learning Publishers. Available at: https://r2library.com/Resource/Title/1284036790.

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