Doctors, nurses, and others working in the healthcare sector encounter situations almost every day that require a strong understanding of clinical bioethics. Problems related to the end of life are an example of the bioethics in health that they have to face. Other examples include the allocation of resources, such as donor organs, prenatal testing, and administration of medications (such as when a patient refuses treatment).
Decision-making, leadership, and communication are examples of the key skills that nurses and other healthcare professionals need to be successful and overcome these ethical dilemmas every day. But, what is the importance of bioethics in nursing?
In this post, Dr. Juan Carlos Fernández Gonzalo and Dr. Blanca Fernández-Lasquetty Blanc , co-directors of the Master in Nursing Management , tell us in more detail about bioethics in nursing.
WHAT IS CLINICAL BIOETHICS?
If we focus on the literal definition or on the concept, we can understand bioethics as the discipline that applies ethical principles to biomedical techniques under development to safeguard the dignity of the person and the personal entity ; as indicated by the RAE.
However, it is somewhat more complex, assuming that the nursing profession is a practical discipline and at the same time it develops with human experiences and people’s life events. The concept of bioethics has had its historical evolution and this ethical commitment in the development of our profession is applied not only with the patient, but also with the family, society and with the profession itself; Perhaps if we look at the pandemic situation experienced in the last year and a half we can understand it better.
The practice of the nursing profession involves dealing with life, death, and health, always having an undeniable ethical dimension. Nursing practice is guided by principles and rules of a moral nature, which seek to guarantee an adequate exercise of the profession.
WHAT ARE THE BIOETHICAL PRINCIPLES IN NURSING?
Bioethical principles derive from the Belmont Report of 1978 , this report includes as a priority that people must also be treated ethically, respecting their decisions and protecting them from harm and making an effort to ensure their well-being.
Thus we can identify the following bioethical principles:
- Beneficence / Non-maleficence Principle : It establishes that people must be treated ethically, respecting their decisions and protecting them from any harm, from these principles two maxims arise which are: Do no harm and Maximize benefits while minimizing risks.
- Principle of Autonomy: This principle establishes respect for people, establishing that individuals should be treated as autonomous entities and that those whose autonomy is diminished should be protected. It promotes and highlights the autonomy of the patient, information and confidentiality as well as tolerance.
- Principle of Justice: It implies impartiality and equity in the distribution of health care, giving each individual what they need at the time.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF BIOETHICS?
The importance of bioethics is based on bringing together the technical and the ethical, referring to Sanchez Caro and using one of his reflections, we can ask ourselves, is everything technically possible ethically acceptable? And if so, are there means to do it in the most optimal conditions for the patient? If we delve into these reflections, we observe that we reach areas of vital events that can be influenced by philosophical, ethical, political and economic conditions. Areas that can range from the prioritization and allocation of resources to the vulnerability of patients and even professionals.
CAN YOU GIVE US SOME EXAMPLES OF THE MOST COMMON BIOETHICAL TOPICS IN NURSING?
Rather than going into concrete examples, we are going to outline the most common casuistry encountered in nursing practice, thus we can observe bioethical dilemmas regarding:
- Paternalistic behaviors towards the patient and even professional paternalism.
- Communication of bad news.
- Silent relationships.
- Refusal of treatments.
- Shared planning of care.
- Vital events at the beginning and end of life
WHAT KIND OF PROFILE SHOULD PEOPLE INTERESTED IN STUDYING THE MASTER AND THEN DEVELOPING THEIR PROFESSIONAL CAREERS IN NURSING MANAGEMENT AND DIRECTION HAVE?
The profile of the candidate to take this program: is a nurse with interests in direction and management , as well as nursing research; professional, responsible, with strategic vision, management capacity, to make decisions and defend their ideas, direct projects, participate in innovation programs and at the same time a person who directs and motivates their team / s, recognizing and sharing successes.
He has the ability to continuously learn from his environment and manage moments of crisis and success with values , reflecting on the impact of decision-making.
NURSING MANAGEMENT AT THE EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY
Our main goal at the European University is to prepare you for the real future in the workplace. We train people capable of leading, making decisions and working as a team. If you are interested in advancing your professional career in the health sector, we also offer several masters and MBAs including: