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Essay on Ethical Decision Making in Nursing

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I chose to go into nursing because I had taken a sports medicine class in high school I enjoyed, and I thought I would be guaranteed a job graduating that had something to do with medicine. I can remember being so excited to learn how about illnesses and medications, and all the difference procedures done in the hospital. At the time I thought a nurse’s job was to do what the physicians said, and I expected set guidelines that would tell me what I was and wasn’t allowed to do. I had no idea that I was entering onto a career path involving so much complexity, and that the skills I had dreamed of learning were such a small part of nursing in comparison to the emotional, decision making, and critical thinking skills that a nursing career requires. Ethics in nursing was not something that had ever crossed my mind when I chose to take this path, however now ethics is something that I think about every day I am practicing, whether in clinical or theory courses. Ethical theories often come from the idea that because we are human we have the obligation to care about other’s best interests (Kozier et al., 2010), however in nursing ethical practice is not just a personal choice but a professional responsibility.
This paper will focus on two BNUR leaner outcomes (University of Calgary, 2013) relevant to my learned understanding of nurses as ethical decision makers. I will outline the ways that I have seen ethics used and not used in practice, what I learned about ethics and its use in my theory courses and throughout my practicums, and I will reflect on how this understanding will translate into my professional practice moving forward.
BNUR Learner Outcomes
The two BNUR leaner outcomes (University of Calgary, 2013) that I believe ...


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..., Snyder, S., Raffin Bouchal, D., & Hirst, S. et al. (2010). Fundamentals of canadian nursing (2nd ed.). Toronto ON: Pearson Canada.
Milton, C. (2008). Boundaries: ethical implications for what it means to be therapeutic in the nurse-person relationship. Nursing Science Quarterly, 21(1), 18-21.
Oberle, K., & Raffin Bouchal, S. (2009). Ethics in Canadian nursing practice: Navigating the journey. Toronto ON: Pearson Canada.
Piper, L. (2011). The ethical leadership challenge: Creating a culture of patient and family centered care in the hospital setting. Health Care Manager, 30(2), 125-132. doi: 10.1097/HCM.0b013e318216efb9
Stamler, L., & Yiu, L. (2012). Community Health Nursing (3rd ed.). Toronto ON: Pearson Canada.
University of Calgary (2011). University of Calgary BNUR program curricular themes,
sub-themes, and learner outcomes. Calgary, AB: Author.


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