Abuse and violence are unfortunately all too common in today’s world. Nurses may be faced with ethical dilemmas when confronted with these situations. For example, if a nurse suspects that a patient is being abused, she may feel obligated to report it to the authorities. However, she may also feel that it is not her place to get involved in the situation.
Another ethical dilemma that nurses may face is whether or not to provide care to patients who have been involved in violent acts, such as domestic violence. On one hand, the nurse may feel that it is her duty to provide care for all patients regardless of their past actions. On the other hand, she may feel that providing care for someone who has committed a violent act condone his or her actions.
As a result of the ethical dilemmas that nurses may face, it is important for them to have a good understanding of the various codes of ethics that guide their profession. These codes of ethics can provide guidance on how to handle situations involving abuse and violence. Additionally, nurses should feel comfortable discussing these types of situations with their supervisors or other members of the healthcare team in order to make sure that they are providing the best possible care for their patients.
Child maltreatment is a serious health issue affecting millions of children throughout the world (ANA, 2015). Child maltreatment is any act of harm or promise to a youngster under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or guardian (ANA, 2015). Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect are all examples of common types of violence against children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1,520 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States in 2012 (CDC, 2015). Of these deaths, seventy-eight percent were victims of maltreatment by a parent or other caregiver (CDC, 2015).
While all states have laws that criminalize child abuse and neglect, many health care professionals are still hesitant to report cases of abuse out of fear of retaliation or reprisal (ANA, 2015). Unfortunately, this means that many cases of child maltreatment go unreported. In order to help ensure that all cases of child maltreatment are reported, it is important for health care professionals to understand their state’s mandatory reporting laws.
All fifty states have some form of mandatory reporting law for child abuse and neglect (ANA, 2015). These laws require certain professionals, such as health care workers, to report any suspected cases of child maltreatment to the proper authorities. The purpose of these laws is to ensure that all cases of child maltreatment are investigated in a timely manner.
While the intent of mandatory reporting laws is good, they can sometimes put health care professionals in a difficult ethical dilemma. For example, what if a patient confides in a nurse that they are being abused by their partner but does not want to press charges or involve the authorities? In this situation, the nurse is required by law to report the abuse but may also be violating the patient’s privacy and trust.
Physical and emotional neglect are two examples of neglect. The ethical issue I ran into at Children’s Habilitation Center after learning about their history was that the majority of the children I observed were raped, abused, or neglected by their parents or guardians.
The Habilitation Center is a place for children with special needs, which means that they are more vulnerable to be taken advantage of.
Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional, or sexual maltreatment of a child. In the United States, an estimated 1 out of every 4 girls and 1 out of every 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2016).
Abuse can happen to children of any age, race, or gender. It often happens within the family or by someone the family knows and trusts. Unfortunately, many children never tell anyone about the abuse because they are afraid or ashamed. The effects of child abuse can be long-lasting and have a profound impact on a victim’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
If you suspect that a child is being abused, it is important to report it to the authorities. In some cases, you may be required by law to report your suspicions. Abuse hotline numbers vary from state to state, but you can typically find them by searching online or in the phone book.
We all have a responsibility to ensure the safety, health, and care of all of our patients and to give them comfort. The (ANA) Code of Ethics states that “The nurse has authority, accountability, and responsibility for nursing practice; makes decisions; and takes action consistent with the obligation to promote health and to provide optimal care” (nurse). A nurse must be able to choose what they believe is best for their patient.
However, sometimes these decisions may put the nurse in an ethical dilemma. One common ethical dilemma that nurses face is whether or not to report abuse. Abuse can be defined as “any form of mistreatment that results in physical, emotional, or sexual harm to an individual” (American Nurses Association, 2015). Unfortunately, abuse is not uncommon and nurses may come across patients who are victims of abuse.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime” (National Domestic Violence Hotline, n.d.). Nurses need to be able to recognize the signs of abuse so they can properly support and care for their patients.
So what should a nurse do if they suspect their patient is a victim of abuse? The first step is to assess the situation and determine if there is immediate danger. If there is no immediate danger, the nurse can then talk to the patient about their concerns and see if the patient wants to discuss the issue further. If the patient does want to talk, the nurse can provide them with resources and support. However, if the patient does not want to talk or if there is immediate danger, the nurse may have to report the abuse.
Reporting abuse can be difficult because it may put the patient in more danger or cause them to lose their trust in the nurse. Abuse is often a sensitive topic and patients may not want to talk about it, especially if they are afraid of their abuser. However, it is important for the nurse to ensure the safety of their patient and to provide them with the best possible care.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) provides guidelines on how to handle ethical dilemmas like this one. The ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses states that “When confronted with an ethical dilemma, nurses should apply the values of beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, justice, and fidelity” (American Nurses Association, 2015). In other words, when making a decision, nurses should consider what will do the most good and cause the least harm. They should also respect the autonomy of their patients and be fair and just in their decision-making.
Reporting abuse can be a difficult decision, but it is important to remember that the safety of the patient should always come first. Nurses have a duty to protect their patients and to provide them with the best possible care. If you suspect that your patient is a victim of abuse, take the time to assess the situation and talk to your patient about your concerns. You may be able to help them get the support and resources they need to stay safe.