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Patients may refuse to receive treatment that will save their life.In this situation, nursing staff and medical staff may have a clear opinion of the need to intervene, but the patient disagrees with the course of action.Regardless, you cannot force treatment on a patient or provide them medication covertly.
Nurses have skills and knowledge of disease and treatment; however, patients have the right to autonomy and have the final say in their own treatment.
When opinions oppose, this can create a challenging clinical situation.
- Demonstrate an ability to weigh up evidence when serving the best interests of the patient.
The main ethical principles of nursing are intended to guide decision-making to ensure the best outcomes for patients, while respecting patient rights.
Holding the patient against their will would violate their autonomy and freedom - even where knowledge and expertise suggest that the patient should remain in hospital.
The nurse should serve as a patient’s advocate; your role is not to decide for the patient, but to provide them with all of the necessary information to guide their decision.Your access to the NCBI website at gov has been temporarily blocked due to a possible misuse/abuse situation involving your site.This is not an indication of a security issue such as a virus or attack.Capacity should be assessed, and it should be determined whether or not the patient is able to make this decision based on this assessment.If a patient does not have capacity, suitable approaches may be used to advocate for treatment.This may include life-saving surgery, medication use, or other interventions that will directly prevent serious harm to the patient.In practice, nurses should determine the capacity of the patient, examine their reasons for refusal, and determine the extent to which ethical care can be delivered.Learning objectives By the end of this chapter you should be able to: - Identify common ethical dilemmas in nursing practice.- Understand how patients and healthcare professionals interact to make decisions.You should discuss the issue in a calm and sensitive manner, asking them about their concerns, ideas and expectations.Often, parents are stressed or anxious, and this could affect their judgement as to the best course of action for their child.