Ethical Issues in Decision-Making

Subject: Medical Ethics
Pages: 4
Words: 890
Reading time:
4 min


The ethical decision-making model has guidelines that help nurses make up-to-date decisions while evaluating the consequences. Medical practitioners encounter ethical dilemmas daily in the fast-growing medical field. Therefore, ethical principles are crucial in clinical practice, especially when nurses must make informed decisions about their clients’ healthcare and note the consequences of their choices (Nibbelink & Brewer, 2018). Medical practitioners are expected to treat all patients equally and not infringe on their autonomy rights. The autonomy concept implies that the nurses should allow their patients to make their own choices regarding their health and treatment interests. The principles also remind the medics not to cause any intentional harm to patients. This research explains an ethical issue, identifies a model to follow in reaching a decision, identifies the position of other people, and how it would influence my choices.

Ethical Issue and Decision-Making Model

Instances, when a medical practitioner should decide on the best drug options to choose in a healthcare setup, are frequent. According to Nibbelink and Brewer (2018), healthcare professionals have the autonomy to decide on the steps they employ in caring for a patient, based on their skills and the effectiveness of the process in the end. Family members often suggest other treatment methods for their relatives, putting the healthcare professional in a dilemma (Rainer et al., 2018). For this case, a medical practitioner must reason according to their profession’s guidelines and the results expected. The expected result is to choose the right medication to ensure the safety of the patient. It is a case of proper medication, coupled with the dilemma about the right drug.

Decision-making in the healthcare facility is a professional issue, judged and decided from the aspects of practice. Nurses, doctors, and pharmacists decide according to their skills, the condition present, and the expected results. Reasons for such decisions include the protection of patients and upholding the integrity of medical professions. In a case of moral reasoning, I would follow specific procedures such as i)identifying the ethical issue or problem, ii) collecting and analyzing additional information, iii) developing alternatives and comparing them, iv) justifying the reasons, and v) strategies to implement them. The case of a family suggesting drugs to be given to their member is not to be decided once but requires a properly-outlined procedure that incorporates the ethical decision-making models mentioned above.

The first consideration in this is knowing that I have to make the right decision despite the family demanding a different drug. I will have to gather data about the drug compare it with other drugs in the facility and ensure they fit the patient’s situation. Once I compare all the reasons presented, I should ensure a proper answer that will justify the treatment, protect the sick, and explain to the family why we have to use specific drugs. Analysis of such information can be done by consultations with other experts so that errors do not occur. I should then inform the family of my decision and provide reasons that they should believe in it. My implementation strategy is to go ahead and give the patient the best drug according to my results. I am obligated to make the right and medically justified decisions to keep the patient safe.

Other People’s Positions

Barret (2012) and Park (2012) present two ethical decision-making models. Though they all fall within the nursing profession, their approaches are different, which would lead to different strategies if I was to follow. Barret lists three major steps in the ethical decision-making procedure. His approach is identifying all the possibilities, gauging the outcome, and deciding which strategy to apply. He indicates that the problem with decision-making is the dilemma it presents to the practitioner. His concerns relate to various healthcare issues and cases presented for treatment. Park has a long procedure that includes finding out the problem, gathering more information, listing alternatives, selecting the best procedure, drawing an implementation plan, and evaluating the effects to prevent more problems in the future. Park’s presentation is somewhat similar to the ideas I applied and could be my choice to follow any of them. Barret presents a summarized idea that would easily make an individual lose track of the case if he was to follow. By reading the two authors’ positions, I feel encouraged to apply my procedure, which is aligned with one of them.

From the issue identified, ethical decision-making remains an issue of skill and law within the healthcare profession. Most situations practitioners encounter do not require a straightforward decision but considerations from various aspects of nursing. Moral reasoning is reached after considering the case, finding the complicated issues involved, and constructing a procedure to reach a decision. Most healthcare professionals are obligated to consult widely to avoid making errors that would compromise the quality of health, patient safety, and integrity of medical facilities. A case in which a family requires a change of drugs when caring for the patient is common in various facilities. The right decisions for such cases are having every alternative considered, effects analyzed and a decision made. Two authors also presented their approach, with Park having a more detailed approach. Going through them encourages me to continue with the procedure I picked as they back up the process and mentioned nurses’ critical considerations. These practices must follow the major guidelines of most medical bodies.


Barret, M. S. (2012). Ethical decision-making: A framework for understanding and resolving mental health dilemmas. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Nibbelink, C. W., & Brewer, B. B. (2018). Decision‐making in nursing practice: An integrative literature review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(5-6), 917-928. DOI: 10.1111/jocn.14151

Park, E. (2012). An integrated ethical decision-mking model for nurses. Sage Journals, 19(1), 139-59. DOI: 10.1111/jocn.14151

Rainer, J., Schneider, J. K., & Lorenz, R. A. (2018). Ethical dilemmas in nursing: An integrative review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(19-20), 3446-3461. DOI: 10.1111/jocn.14542