Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Ethical Issues And Dilemmas In Healthcare

Words: 1163
Pages: 3
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Healthcare professionals are obligated to avail care to ailing patients by minimizing any form of suffering as well as alleviating pain. Because of this, every action taken by healthcare personnel or physician constitutes both a moral and ethical dimension. These dimensions are supposed to be in alignment with a set of ethical principles that aim at enhancing the quality of care. The ethical principles also play a significant role in the identification as well as the attempt to resolve issues arising from healthcare practice. Even with these ethical and moral dimensions in place, there are rampant cases of unethical behavior such as abuse of patients, unsafe administration of medication for patients, and isolation of patients. This essay looks deep into an unethical issue where nurses conceal a patent’s prognosis.

Core Values of Nursing

In healthcare, ethical issues are addressed using four principles of ethics. According to Punjani et al. (2014), these principles of ethics include autonomy, non-maleficence, justice, and beneficence. In some of the issues mentioned above, for instance, abuse, these principles of ethics guide how nurses should conduct themselves and how they should respond to a scenario. Typically, the nursing curriculum demands nurses to tell the truth and be honest in all circumstances (Punjani et al., 2014). Being orderly is far from being a subject of discussion. Therefore, in a case where nurses or any other healthcare professional has issues with alcohol, they are either dismissed or taken to custody for putting the life of patients at risk. In essence, the core values, as well as the ideology of nursing, include honesty and trustworthiness. The next section discusses the ethical principles of nursing that should be considered in nursing practice, more so when nurses are in a dilemma of concealing information from patients.

Nursing Principles of Ethics


The principle of autonomy addresses issues concerning obligations and rights. The principle emphasizes the patient’s rights that should be taken into account when treating their medical conditions (Edwards, 2009). In some cases, nurses are tempted to withhold critical information to a patient. Therefore, the patients can end up making an uninformed decision concerning their wellbeing because they do not have all the information needed. A similar scenario can also take place when healthcare workers hide prognosis from patients. Concealing critical data from a patient is an unethical issue that can be resolved using the principle of autonomy.

Per the principle of autonomy, healthcare givers must be truthful to the patients. They should also respect the choices made by the patients. According to Edwards (2009), patients have the right to make decisions for themselves concerning the type of treatment plan to be used. However, the nurses are obligated to allow this on condition that they have availed complete information to the patient. The data provided should be accurate and comprehensive (Edwards, 2009). Therefore, in a case where the caregiver has been asked by family members not to give prognosis details to the patient and yields to family members’ pressure, violates the ethical principle of autonomy.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Beneficence and Non-maleficence

The primary responsibility of nurses or any other caregiver is to the patient. At times, the family or community can take the place of the patient. When such a scenario occurs, where the family may decide to hide the patient’s prognosis, what arises again is the intentions behind such concealment. If the intentions are wrong, then the interests of the family are disregarded. When the stakes are good, beneficence and non-maleficence principles apply. According to Scott (2017), the principle of beneficence demands caregivers to treat patients in a manner that provides maximum outcome and benefit to the patient. On the other hand, the principle of non-maleficence demands that no harm should be caused to the patient (Scott, 2017). This suggests that caregivers are obligated with the duty of taking care of their patients, which is in alignment with utilitarianism theory.

According to Scott (2017), utilitarianism theory suggests that ethical actions are those that provide the best good for the most significant number of people. In a healthcare setting, utilitarianism theory suggests that ethical actions are those that result in the maximum outcome and minimized risks and costs (Scott, 2017). From this analysis, it is evident that beneficence and non-maleficence principles go hand in hand. However, exceptional circumstances arise when they override. For example, in the case where the prognosis is hidden from the patient, the interests of the family members may be pure, which in most cases is to protect the psychological wellbeing of the patient. However, when a nurse does this, and the patient finds out later, the caregiver loses the trust of the patient. The patient may also result in mental and psychological trauma, which can be fatal. In such a scenario, the beneficence principle holds. At the same time, the probability of non-maleficence is high.

The conflict between Beneficence and Autonomy

The two principles conflict in cases where healthcare professionals unintentionally or intentionally utilize the paternalistic approach when taking care of a patient. Even though such care may be useful to the patient, the principle of autonomy is breached. That is, the decision of the patient is not put into consideration (Bhanji, 2013). Therefore, when such circumstances happen, healthcare professionals are advised to analyze the situation critically. Benefits, as well as risks about the case should be considered. In essence, the entire situation should be examined critically and, more so, the consequences.


Justice suggests fairness and equality. However, this is not the case in healthcare. According to Bhanji (2013), justice in healthcare suggests that resources are equitably distributed. Bhanji (2013) further indicates that there are two types of justice in the healthcare context, which include rights-based justice and distributive justice. The former suggests respecting the rights of patients rather than the law (Bhanji, 2013). Therefore, in a healthcare setting, patients have equal rights in participating in the plan of care as well as in seeking healthcare. In the scenario discussed in this essay, concealing prognosis data and the transfer of data to family members without the consent of the patient is a breach of rights-based justice. Therefore, with the many ethical issues surrounding healthcare, these principles of ethics help nurses make ethical decisions in circumstances of dilemma.


In conclusion, the essay has looked deep into an unethical issue where nurses conceal a patent’s prognosis among other data. The paper has shown that nurses can hide information from patients, which is unethical. Such situation can only be solved using principles of ethics, which include autonomy, non-maleficence, justice, and beneficence. In essence, there is no perfect way to solve an ethical dilemma. However, the principles of ethics help one make step by step decisions in determining the best outcome.


  1. Bhanji, S. M. (2013). Health care ethics. Journal of Clinical Research Bioethics, 4(1), 141-142.
  2. Edwards, S. D. (2009). Nursing Ethics. Palgrave Macmillan.
  3. Punjani, N. S., Bhanji, S. M., Mehgani, S. T., & Shah, M. (2014). Health care Ethics-Am I Dying. International Journal of Endorsing Health Science Research, 2(1), 28-30.
  4. Scott, P. A. (2017). Key concepts and issues in nursing ethics. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Ethical Issues And Dilemmas In Healthcare. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Ethical Issues And Dilemmas In Healthcare.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
Ethical Issues And Dilemmas In Healthcare. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Ethical Issues And Dilemmas In Healthcare [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.