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Importance of Biomedical Ethics

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This paper defines biomedical ethics and hence states the major biomedical ethics in practice. It further describes the significance and the importance of the biomedical ethics to nurses.  It also shows how the lessons learned in biomedical ethics class will help someone in the healthcare profession, the key questions and lessons needed by such an audience.

Importance of Biomedical ethics in nursing

Biomedical ethics (morality of life) are standards based on ethical principles that normalize the individual and social behavior of the person. It is also systematic study of human behavior in the field of sciences of life and health in the light values and moral principles.  Biomedical ethics is not limited to the medical field since it encompasses all the moral problems to do with life extending its scope on environmental related issues. It is basically the systematic study of human behavior in the field of life sciences and healthcare examined in values and moral principles. It now includes the traditional aspects of medical ethics and environmental ethics on the rights of future generations and sustainable development (Admin. 2009).

The main biomedical values that are mainly applied to nursing include autonomy; non-maleficence (premium non nocere); justice; truthful and honesty; dignity and beneficence. They are used in health care to identify and manage conflicts and make a difficult decision. It makes use of a more updated approach using interpersonal, meditative, conflict management and conflict resolution skills to manage dilemmas arising in the healthcare settings making nurses to fully participate in formal biomedical mediation and meditative interventions (Nursing Outlook 2009).

Biomedical ethic such as autonomy is important for nurses since it enables them to make discretionary and binding decisions which are consistent with their scope of practice. It arms the nurses with control over the knowledge needed to make decision. The nurses do not need to be given permission from other to carry out actions they have decided o undertake. A nurse can decide to initiate an educational teaching plan with a mother who is to initiate may be breastfeeding the new born but she is not successful. The nurse does not need permission to do this education with the mother (Lewis F 2006).

Lack of involvement in the decision making process and lack of authority contribute to powerlessness in situations of moral difficulty. This occurs when the nurse disagrees with the treatment decisions made by the attending physician but is required to follow. The nurse may recognize that the orders violate the accepted standard of care. In such a case a nurse has no duty of carrying out such orders. The American Nurses Association Code for Nurses section 4.3 imposes an affirmative obligation on nurses to exercise independent judgement with regard to the appropriate action to be taken. The nurses are therefore accountable for judgments made in the course their practice. The ethical physician should not insist that the nurses should follow their orders centrally to nursing practices (Michele M. 2005).

Biomedical ethics enables nurses to identify the emotions arising from the relationship with the patien and his family and understand the values and emotions of others that lead to health and relationship decisions therefore helping to better focus on patient needs. The interpretation of the demand for care and the planning of them must be patient centered helping the nurses to be more objective and to listen more readily to the patient and family. This resolves an ethical problem by understanding the conflict that is occurring between different moral positions derived from theories based on the result, the duty, obligation and theories relating to care. This is solved by resorting to the authority of an official document, taking an individual decision by consensus with the rest of the nursing staff through one dialogue between the profession and the public (Admin.2009).

Biomedical ethics helps the nurse to serve the patient with dignity thereby reducing suffering in the patient. It is a phenomenon of inter-subjectivity and a locus for human dignity and its loss. The response of a nurse to the need can sustain or undermine the perception of the dignity of a patient. Treating the patient with low dignity makes the patient to feel guilt leading to self-deprecation, feelings of unworthiness and the misperception of a loss of inherent dignity. Sickness exposes the mortality of the patient leading to shame.  Most patients survive humiliations. However there are many occasions when the experience entails deeper repercussions and much greater moral significance. Chronic illness, mental illness, dying and death are circumstances when the patient's perception of loss of his or her dignity is enough to be an additional source of suffering which become more distressing than the pains, discomfort and disability caused by the disease itself (Edmund D. 2008).

Cumulative assaults on the dignity of the dying are often the reason for a desperate request for euthanasia or assisted suicide as well as for the prevalence of clinical depression among dying patients. Perceptions of loss of dignity contribute to a person's assessment of the quality of the patients’ life shaping their decisions to accept or reject even effective treatment. The doctor is obliged to learn of the patient's wishes and adhere to them- unless they violate the physician's personal and professional moral integrity (Edmund D. 2008).

Biomedical ethics enables nurses conduct themselves honorably with justice, solidarity, competence and legality by managing and implementing nursing professionalism for the protection of health and life of the population. Nursing is a profession of service of human life hence the ethics modifies the behavior of nurses in accordance with solidarity, respect for human life and to be considered in their biodiversity as part and interrelationship with peers and nature. Biomedical ethics allows the nurse to reflect ethical behavior in their relationship with people in their care, with colleagues, team member of health and society in general. The development scale of the human person demands respect and practice of human values such as justice and freedom by the nurse and the nurse both their personal and professional life should be respected in everyday practices (Edmund D. 2008).

The lessons learnt in the class of biomedical ethics is essential forr the well-being of nurses through the integration of bioethics into clinical medicine by educating physicians and conducting clinical ethics consultations which have educational role that is designed to assist in solving a particular ethical problem in a clinical setting thereby teaching physicians ways to perform better these functions (Edmund D. 2008).

The key questions needed by such an audience are how their action impinge on an individual's personal autonomy, whether all relevant parties consent to their action, whether they acknowledge and respect that others may choose differently, who benefits from their action and in what way, which parties may be harmed by their action, steps they can take to minimize this harm, whether they have communicated risks involved in a truthful and open manner, in the event of a disaster, how they can avert the possible harm caused, whether they have identified all vulnerable groups that may be affected by their action, whether their proposed action is equitable and how they  can  make it more equitable (Lucy C. 2002).

Some of the questions  needed by the audience are whether all relevant parties consent to their action, whether they acknowledge and respect that others may choose differently, who benefits from their action and in what way, which parties may be harmed by their action, steps they can take to minimize this harm, whether they have communicated risks involved in a truthful and open manner, in the event of a disaster, how they can avert the possible harm caused, whether they have identified all vulnerable groups that may be affected by their action, whether their proposed action is equitable and how they  can  make it more equitable.

Therefore bioethics is a complex and controversial topic that has been complicated by unprecedented growth in medical technology. The healthcare professionals in this field are thus confronted by issues that not only require the mere knowledge of disease treatments. Hence for a society’s social conduct, morality is insisted on which will help them adhere to the required codes of behavior. With morality, other ethical issues like justice and fair treatment are fairy and reasonably accorded to respective patients (Beeman C. 1997).      

Biomedical ethic such as autonomy is important for nurses since it enables them to make discretionary and binding decisions which are consistent with their scope of practice. Lack of involvement in the decision making process and lack of authority contribute to powerlessness in situations of moral difficulty. Biomedical ethics enables nurses to identify the emotions arising from the relationship with the patient and his family and understand the values and emotions of others that lead to health and relationship decisions therefore helping to better focus on patient needs. The lessons learnt in the class of biomedical ethics is essential for the well-being of nurses through the integration of bioethics into clinical medicine by educating physicians and conducting clinical ethics consultations which have educational role that is designed to assist in solving a particular ethical problem in a clinical setting thereby teaching physicians ways to perform better these functions.

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