Ethics are important when dealing with humanity. The importance is clearest in the health field as on numerous occasions health professionals are required to make decisions whose consequences may be life or death. Ethics forms an important part of the nursing profession and its importance goes back in history (American Nurses Association, 2010).
The first scenario of the drug company that manufactures antiretroviral brings about various ethical concerns. The nurse is the patient’s advocate, a patient may refer to an individual, family, or a community to whom nursing care is directed, (American Nurses Association, 2010) in this case, the patient is the sub-Saharan African population. The nurse is required to advocate for their health, the UN has tried to advocate for selling the medication at a cheaper price but the pharmaceutical company is adamant.
One of the principles of ethics is beneficence this involves doing good and showing compassion to others (Pozgar, 2013, slide 30, chapter 1). The amount of money invested in the program by the pharmaceutical company is not of direct benefit to the people who need it; what is the point of doing research and sponsoring education when the findings and the knowledge gained will not be of benefit to the consumers as they will not be in a position to afford the medicines.
The other principle of ethics is Justice. In this case, it is recommended that the benefits of something should be distributed fairly, just like the risks (Pozgar, 2013, slide 34, chapter 1). The same way researches are being funded and doctors trained, the benefits to the people like subsidizing costs should be distributed fairly.
There may be ethical theories in conflict. While applying the non-consequential theory, the pharmaceutical company may be in order as the properties intrinsic to what they are doing are within the ethical guidelines. On the other hand, the Utilitarian theory requires the greatest good for the greatest number of people (Pozgar, 2013 slide 25, chapter 1), the pharmaceutical company will benefit only a few people yet the money invested would have been used to save the lives of many people.
In my opinion, part of the money should be used to subsidize the cost of antiretroviral drugs produced by the company as advocated by the Utilitarian theory that promotes a greater good done for a large number of people and the consequent theory that is more concerned with the results. In this case, the outcome will be that most people will be able to afford the treatment.
The second case scenario of the remote mountain village presents another ethical dilemma. I will refuse the terrorist’s offer and walk away from the situation. This is based on the framework of virtuous ethics. It states that who we are is revealed by what we do. A nurse is expected to maintain life. The American nurse association (2001, p.2) also expects that nurses influence the environment by their values and virtues; by walking away it is clear to the terrorists that I do not condone what they are doing. Picking one person and killing them will show that it is okay for them to kill; more so it will not end the more killings they are going to do. Walking away may influence their opinion as they will be aware that killing is not right.
The nurse in addition to protecting others from harm is required to protect themselves (American Nurses Association, 2001, p.2). It is for this reason the nurse cannot try something fishy as the terrorists have already warned that trying anything fishy will get all of them killed.
The criteria of choosing one person will also pose a problem, the nurse is required to be fair at all times; he or she should not discriminate against anyone. Choosing one person to protect the rest may show bias. The killers in another situation may justify killings by saying that they are doing it to protect their community or their people.
Utilitarianism is based on the consequences of the action; as much as killing one person would have saved the lives of 19 people, it would only be a short-term solution to the problem. It would also be an indication to the terrorists that killing is something normal. In addition, the consequence of killing one person will be instilling fear in the rest of the villagers, this is in itself something bad as people should not live I fear
Deontology suggests that the moral value of a situation is not based on the actions but on the initial formal features of the action. Taking a gun and killing one of the villagers will show features and characteristics of murder, even though the outcome may be positive. On the other hand, walking away will show that I have respect for human life even though the outcome may be negative.
Self-respect is that sense of an individual’s dignity or integrity that is proper. The self-respect of Celine varies, with different situations. In the beginning, she has low self-respect or none at all and at the end of the video, she has a lot of self-respect. Nettie on the other hand has fairly stable and fair regard for her dignity and integrity, she is able to fight for herself and even moves out of her father’s house when she is depressed. Sofia also has a high level of self respect as she does not let her husband or the mayor’s wife abuse her (Kant and Kantian Ethics, 2010. P. 36). Sofia is able to fight back when any attempts of violence are directed towards her.
Celine’s violent relationship with her dad destroys her self-respect. Her husband who is also violent further destroys her sense of dignity. Sofia on the other hand fights her husband back and she has a high level of self respect to the extend she is able to fight back the mayor.
Violence in relationships may also be criminal offenses in addition to destroying one’s self esteem. They add up to assault and battery and may also contribute to infliction of mental distress (Prozgar, 2013, slides 38 & 39 chapter 6).
Loving relationships play a major role in developing self respect. Celine’s interaction with Shug results in Celine having a higher sense of dignity; she moves out of her violent marriage (Kant and Kantian Ethics, 2010, p.40). The relationship between Nettie and Celine also develops Nettie’s self respect at a tender age. They are close and when their father attempts to fight Nettie, Nettie moves out of their place to Celine’s house (Kant and Kantian Ethics, 2010, p.41).
In summary, it is evident that different situations require different approaches in making decisions on what to do. The different ethical dilemmas require a nurse to have good decision making skills. Communication skills are also necessary in convincing other people to behave in a morally upright way.
American Nurses Association. (2001). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Washington, DC: Author.
American Nurses Association. (2010). Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses. Washington, DC: Author.
Kant and Kantian Ethics (2010). The Colour Purple. Web.
Pozgar, G. (2013). Legal and ethical issues for health professionals (3rd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.