Ethical Issues Faced by the Nursing Staff

 Ethical Issues Faced by the Nursing Staff

The student will watch the documentary Code Gray (1983) or The Waiting Room (2012). These documentaries are available thru the Newman Ethical Issues Library. For this paper the student will consider and explore the issue(s) and the complexities in making a decision that has ethical ramifications using the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University Framework for Ethical Decision Making (2017) at Or

The following guidelines will help you craft your paper:

Use headings to help guide your reader through the sections of this paper.

Explore the ethical dilemma from either documentary Code Gray (1983) or the waiting room (2012). describe one ethical dilemma. what individuals and groups have an important stake in the outcome? discuss three options that could be used for resolution of the dilemma. evaluate three options by asking the following questions;

Which options will produce the most good and do the least harm? (The Utilitarian approach)

Which option best respect the right of all who have a stake (The rights approach ) which option treat people equally proportionately (The Justice approach )

Which option best serve the community as whole, not just some member (The common good approach)

Which option leads me to act as the sort of person I want to be ( the virtue approach )

o    Considering all these approaches, which option best addresses the situation

List three or more ethical principles that are applicable in making a decision regarding the ethical dilemma. Autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence are examples of ethical principles that may be considered in the decision. The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University Framework for Ethical Decision Making (2017), American Nurses Association (ANA) website and your textbook have resources that can help guide in identifying ethical standards.

In summary, discuss the impact of this ethical issue on the nursing profession

the waiting room link on youtube

will require an abstract.




Code Gray (1983) highlights the ethical dilemmas that Registered nurses as well as the licensed practical nursing staff in a rural nursing home. The ethical issues that they face involve the ethical principles of beneficence, autonomy, justice, and fidelity. This paper addresses the case of Olive, an 88-year old woman who is unsteady on her feet and consequently prone to accidents that may harm her and others. The nurses are faced with the dilemma of restraining her against her wish although this would make her safe. Several options could be employed for the solution but they present challenges in deferent dimensions. The option that best addresses the situation is to inform the patient about the restraint and convince her that it is beneficial for her so that she can accept it. This case analysis is important for the nursing practice as it highlights a conflict between the duties of beneficence and respect for autonomy, which nurses experience frequently.

Ethical Issues Faced by the Nursing Staff


Ethical issues in Code Gray (1983)

Ethical Dilemma

Code Gray (1983) is a 26-minute documentary that presents nurses in different settings and how they confront ethical dilemmas that have an impact on the patients under their care. There are four sequences that aim at illustrating the ethical issues that arise and face the bedside nursing and they involve the ethical principles of beneficence, autonomy, justice, and fidelity. One ethical dilemma is in the second case that faces the Registered nurses as well as the licensed practical nursing staff in a rural nursing home. They are faced with the ethical option of deciding whether to apply mechanical and chemical restraints although it is against the wish of the residents (Bollig et al. 2015). The aim of the restraint is to help the residents be safe so that they do not injure themselves or interfere with the normal day to day lives of the other occupants in the facility.


The specific case is of Olive who is 88 years of age and is not only unsteady on her feet but is also very forgetful. The nurses are worried that she may injure herself because she has fallen in the past. She has been requested to seek help with movement but has not done so. The nurses, therefore, suggest that she wears a belt tied around her waist and her chair in order to remind her not to get up without someone to walk with her. In addition, it will serve to prevent her from getting up unaided. She however objects and is unwilling to relinquish her freedom. This brings about a dilemma because older people should be allowed to live in accordance to their own free will (Tuominen, Leino-Kilpi, and Suhonen, 2016).  The ethical dilemma, in this case, revolves around autonomy. This is a concept in bioethics that illustrates that an individual is autonomous and therefore the nurses and other professionals should respect the values and choices that they make.

Three Options That Could Be Used for Resolution of The Dilemma

The utilitarian approach to the case is to have the patient tied up so that she does not move without being helped, which may, in turn, make her to be injured or to injure others. This is because although it makes her unhappy, she is safe, and she still has the option of being helped with walking. This is also the option that is the virtue approach as it allows me to act like the person I would want to be. I would want to ensure that she is safe and can always provide assistance for her to walk.

Ethical Issues Faced by the Nursing Staff

The option that respects her right is to allow her to enjoy her autonomy and freedom of movement. This will ensure that she is treated equally with other members of the facility and her autonomy and wishes will be granted. The approach that serves the community as a whole, also known as the common good approach is to have her tied to her chair to restrain her so that she can seek help and not fall as this may harm her and any other person that may be around if she falls on them or their walking equipment.

Option That Best Addresses the Situation

Considering the options, it is advisable that Olive be spoken to and informed of the benefits of the restraint. Also, it will be important if she is allowed some form of freedom especially during specific times that are deemed to be safe by the nurses, who will also ensure that they closely monitor her.

List the Ethical Principles

  • Beneficence
  • Autonomy
  • Justice
  • fidelity

Impact of This Ethical Issue on The Nursing Profession

This ethical dilemma has an impact on the nursing profession. It brings about a conflict between the duties of beneficence and respect for autonomy. This brings about a situation where the patient may be allowed to make a free choice, but will instead compromise her health and put their lives in jeopardy.



Bollig, G., Schmidt, G., Rosland, J. H., & Heller, A. (2015). Ethical challenges in nursing

homes–staff’s opinions and experiences with systematic ethics meetings with participation of residents’ relatives. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 29(4), 810-823.

Sawyer, J. (1983). Code Gray. Fanlight Productions

Tuominen, L., Leino-Kilpi, H., & Suhonen, R. (2016). Older people’s experiences of their free

will in nursing homes. Nursing ethics, 23(1), 22-35.



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