Ethical Dilemmas and Nursing Practice

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  • Ethical Dilemmas and Nursing Practice, 2nd ed. Anne J Davis, Mila A Aroskar. Appleton-Century-Crofts, 25 Van Zant St, East Norwalk, Conn 06855, 1983,243 pp, $14.95 paperback.

    This is the second edition of this popular book, and the authors have added two new chapters on ethical principles and value clarification. A few chapters were not changed, but most were rewritten to include additional information.

    Why do we need books on ethics? The au- thors believe ethical dilemmas are a perennial problem for health care professionals. In the preface they state:

    Health professionals have always had to make ethical decisions regarding patient care; however, our era differs from the past in several important ways. Not only do we have more factual knowledge but we have developed technology, which gives us the mechanisms to implement this knowledge. The combination of knowledge and technol- ogy has led to increasing power over human lives and minds. The first six chapters introduce health care

    ethics and ethical dilemmas including value clarification and moral development; profes- sional ethics and institutional constraints; and patients rights and health care. Chapters seven through eleven deal with informed con- sent, abortion, dying and death, behavior con- trol, and mental retardation.

    The chapter on public policy and health care delivery is interesting because it raises several issues that a nurse may not be aware of now but which she may be confronted with later, such as the patients rights movement, abor- tion, and general consumer unrest with health care institutions. The last chapter presents

    hypothetical case studies for discussion. The studies are based on all of the topics discussed in the book.

    This book presents the most common ethi- cal issues facing nurses and other health care workers today. The issues are presented ob- jectively, and the nurse is guided into making decisions based on the many complex factors that must be taken into consideration if she is to be true to herself and to her patients. After a thoughtful reading, the nurse will want to have a copy of this excellent book available for ref- erence when she is faced with her next ethical dilemma.

    Sister Kane, RN, MEd, RHSJ Cornwall, Ontario

    Values Clarification in Nursing, 2nd ed. Shir- ley M Steele, Vera M Harmon. Appleton- Century-Crofts, 25 Van Zant St, East Norwalk, Conn 06855,1983,225 pp, $14.95 paperback.

    Nursing practice involves a great deal of deci- sion making on behalf of the patient. Because of this, a nurse may feel uneasy if he/she is unable to understand the patients values and place them above hidher own.

    A book about values clarification is difficult to write because there are no final answers to value questions. Values constantly change, and personal values, which affect professional values, differ with each individual.

    In the second edition of this prize-winning book, the authors describe values clarification as a lifelong process of making choices that facilitate decision making. Personal value judgments usually determine objective value judgments, so rightness and wrongness vary extensively. Societal values are also ever

    AORN Journal, August 1983, Vol38, No 2 305

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