Nursing and its Ethical Issues

In nursing, ethical issues are constantly arising. Nursing personnel shares the most lingering in-depth personal contact with patients, especially when the medical institution practices case management system of nursing care. When performing their routine on-the-job duties, nurses face situations that might be stressful for their psyche and contradict their internal moral and ethical principles. The most common among such issues are the end-of-life care, quality of life, or abortion (Juujärvi, Pesso, & Myyry, 2011). This paper discusses ethical issues in the context of nursing related to abortion and explains how nurses must approach different situations and scenarios in this field of practice while upholding legal and professional ethics.

The legal and professional nursing ethical code incorporates principles and standards which determined the quality of professional medical care in the recent decades. Most importantly, it prioritizes patients’ rights, which generates specific duties and obligations of nursing personnel. Therefore, when addressing any situation in their professional career, nurses should adopt an invariable patient-oriented approach to decision-making (Cappiello & Simmonds, 2011).

A nurse should provide quality medical care that is rooted in principles of humanity and professional standards. Thus, nurses are morally responsible for their actions and decisions concerning patients, colleagues, and society. Moreover, medical personnel are legally and ethically bound to provide competent emergency medical care to any person in need. In case of abortion, nurses are not allowed to disregard their attitude and discriminate in the scope of care delivery on the basis of their personal opinions about abortion and due to their religious antagonism towards such practice. What is more, their personal convictions should not be reflected on the quality of services. Nurses should respect legal provisions that permit unlawful practices and the patient’s right to resort to such procedures for any personal reason.

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A nurse should always abide by professional workplace standards and continuously develop knowledge, skills and cultural level in all spheres of medical operations. Therefore, a nurse should not withdraw learning attention from this field of nursing practice. Nurses should be able to provide impartial professional consultation and seek further expansion of clinical research in this field. Such health care workers should be culturally educated and eliminate any cultural, ethnic, and/or religious prejudices against abortions (Woodcock, 2011).

In their communication with a patient, nurses should be oriented at the patient’s right for any legal medical treatment. Moreover, a nurse should be listening, attentive, and compassionate regardless of personal negative opinions concerning abortion. Thus, it is impermissible to try to communicate their own point of view but rather endeavor to understand and respect motives behind the patient’s decision. Communication with a nurse is a valuable source of psychological support and emotional comfort for a patient. Consequently, the nurse should not deprive any patient of this aid or involve into any argument with the patient (Gerrard, 2009).

A nurse should keep any information about a patient confidential from the third parties. Thus, it is unlawful to disclose any compromising data about the patient’s health, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis as well as about the patient’s personal life or any facts, which they received when personally communicating with the patient during hospitalization. In most cases, abortion is a very sensitive fact of the patient’s life, and it might involve issues that may irreparably damage the patient’s personal and social life. Therefore, a confidentiality clause of nursing ethical code is probably one of the most important in abortion practice. Patients expect full anonymity when they resolve to have an abortion. Therefore, nurses should not compromise patient’s trust and endanger the reputation of the medical facility by resolving to unethical behavior (McHale & Jones, 2012).

I believe that ethical codes are very important in nursing practice because nurses’ care influences directly patients’ lives, treatment success, and recovery. Being one of the most sensitive issues of medical practice, abortion requires nurses to employ objective decision-making, non-discriminative attitudes, patient-oriented professional behavior, high level of credentials, and complete confidentiality. If a nurse finds it challenging to comply with any of the highlighted scenarios, they should try to raise their cultural awareness and demonstrate deep commitment to the needs of patients. Otherwise, the only way is to seek professional career in the field unrelated to maternity nursing.


Cappiello, J. D., & Simmonds, K. (2011).

Application of a professional ethical framework to the nursing care of a woman seeking an abortion. JOGNN: Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 40, 120-126.

Juujärvi, S., Pesso, K., & Myyry, L. (2011). Care-based ethical reasoning among first-year nursing and social services students. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67(2), 418-427.

Gerrard, J. W. (2009). Is it ethical for a general practitioner to claim a conscientious objection when asked to refer for abortion? Journal of Medical Ethics, 35(10), 599-602.

McHale, J. V., & Jones, J. (2012). Privacy, confidentiality and abortion statistics: a question of public interest? Journal of Medical Ethics, 38(1), 31-34.

>Woodcock, S. (2011). Abortion counseling and the informed consent dilemma. Bioethics, 25(9), 495-504.

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