Understanding Ethics and Ethical Decision-Making

Understanding Ethics and Ethical Decision-Making

Use ethical dilemma – code status, especially no code for unstable patient with inability to make full recovery. Thank you. INCLUDE intro and conclusion paragraphs.

As you engage in this learning process, it is important to remember that everyone—regardless of temperament type or related preferences—experiences some challenges with regard to leadership. The key to success is being able to recognize and leverage your own strengths while honoring differences among your colleagues.

At some point in your leadership career, you will encounter an ethical or moral dilemma that requires you to take a stand and defend your position Understanding Ethics and Ethical Decision-Making.

For this Assignment, you evaluate an issue and consider how you could act as a moral agent or advocate, facilitating the resolution of the issue for a positive outcome.

To prepare:

Consider the examples of leadership demonstrated in this week’s media presentation and the other Learning Resources.

To further your self-knowledge, you are required to complete the Kiersey Temperament as indicated in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider your leadership style, including your strengths for leading others and include your results from Kiersey Temperament Sorter to describe potential challenges related to your leadership style.

Mentally survey your work environment, or one with which you are familiar, and identify a timely issue/dilemma that requires you to perform the leadership role of moral agent or advocate to improve a situation (e.g., speaking or acting on behalf of a vulnerable patient, the need for appropriate staffing, a colleague being treated unfairly).

What ethical, moral, or legal skills, dispositions, and/or strategies would help you resolve this dilemma? Define the differences between ethical, moral, and legal leadership.

Finally, consider the values and principles that guide the nursing profession; the organization’s mission, vision, and values; the leadership and management competencies addressed in this course; and your own values and reasons for entering the profession. What motivation do you see for taking a stand on an important issue even when it is difficult to do so?


To complete:

By Day 7

Write a 4-to-5-page paper (page count does not include title and reference page) that addresses the following:

Introduce the conceptual frameworks of the ethical constructs of ethics, moral, or legal standards and the purpose of the paper.

Consider an ethical, moral, or legal dilemma that you have encountered in your work environment and describe it.

Analyze the moral, ethical, and legal implications utilized in this situation. Describe your role as a moral agent or advocate for this specific issue.

Consider your leadership styles identified by your self-assessment and determine if they act as a barrier or facilitation during this dilemma.

The School of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The Sample Paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements.

The following should be used exactly as a reference as 1 of the 4 for sure

Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2017). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Ethics concerns standards of professional judgment and moral judgment. Nurses are greatly accountable to patients, employers, the public and the whole profession. It is imperative that they clearly understand the various legal, professional and ethical issues they will encounter during their career.  This paper addresses an ethical dilemma I encountered in my work environment, the legal, moral and ethical implications utilized in this situation, my role as a moral advocate for the issue and the leadership styles I applied during the dilemma Understanding Ethics and Ethical Decision-Making.

An ethical dilemma that I have encountered in my work environment

An ethical dilemma that I have encountered in my work environment is the type of treatment provided when there is no specific code for unstable patient with inability to make full recovery. Smith, a fifty-year-old man with chronic lung illness is admitted to the hospital due to shortness of breath.  Smith is treated but he doesn’t show any improvement. Physicians commend treatment with use of a ventilator to assist him regain his breath temporarily. Nevertheless, the patient does not want the physicians to treat him with a ventilator. The patient neither has a living will nor a pre-hospital do-not-resuscitate (DNR) but he requests his physician to enter a DNR order.

In this case, ethical principles must be considered. Treatment with a ventilator would greatly be beneficial to the patient and he would quickly recover and be discharged from hospital. With no ventilator treatment, there is a possibility that the patient can die. Although the patient understands all the benefits of benefits and risks of ventilator treatment, he settled on not being treated with a ventilator and requested a DNR order.

Analysis of the moral, legal and ethical implications utilized in the case and my role as a moral advocate for this issue

When faced with a dilemma in decision making, a nurse should weight options and choose the most appropriate option or course of action Marquis and Houston (2017) argue that decision making is behavior that is demonstrated when choosing and executing a course of action from amid options with the aim of dealing with a certain problem or situation. In addition, decision making is a procedure that selects a desirable course of actions or option from numerous alternatives based on the given strategies or criteria. It entails an examination of possible options, making comparisons and selecting the most appropriate course of action (Marquis & Houston 2017).

The patient has the right to choose the medical treatment, and this right included all medical choices. It is the constitutional right of the patient to refuse ventilator treatment in spite of his medical condition. Thus, I am supposed to force the patient to be treated with ventilator and should fulfill the request of the patient of entering a DNR order. As a moral advocacy, my role is to help clinicians and nurse to understand the basic principle of respect for autonomy to guide them in decision making and care of the patient. Icheku (2014) notes that respect for autonomy is an agreement to respect the right of another person to self-determine the type of treatment they want and to support autonomous decision making or another person. At times, it can be hard to encounter a patient who makes a decision about their health and treatment options that nurses does not individually agree with, or that they have a feeling that it is not the best option for the circumstances of the individual patient.

According to Davoodvand et al (2016), patient advocacy in nursing is of great importance. Patients’ need for justice is amid the basic human rights and nurses clearly understand patients along with their problems because they are constant contact with them. Thus they can offer justice for  patients better than other members of the healthcare team. Nurses act as the first advocates of their patients and act as the link amid the health care system and patients’ advocacy is an extremely significant role of a nurse (Davoodvand et al, 2016).  As a nurse, I should support and advocate for the rights of my patients, entailing their right to independently make decisions. While I might not agree with the decisions of the patient, I must support it Understanding Ethics and Ethical Decision-Making.

Considering leadership styles identified by my self –assessment and determining if they act as a barrier of facilitation during the dilemma

I applied affiliative, democratic and transformational styles of leadership when resolving the ethical dilemma. These leadership styles acted as facilitation during the dilemma. Democratic leadership encouraged participation of team members and open communication in making ethical decisions. Zydziunaite et al (2013) point out that relationships between the leaders and his followers are significant to a democratic leader because the leader draws suggestions from followers. I encouraged staff to take part in making decisions with my biggest role being that of a moderator.

Affiliative leadership emphasized the significance of teamwork and created harmony in the team by connecting staff to one another. According to Zydziunaite et al (2013), affiliate leadership is valuable when attempting to increase team harmony and morale and improve communication among team members. I used transformational leadership in motivating members of staff and building relationships via a shared mission and vision. This leadership style facilitated decision making because it created a conducive environment to better the outcomes of the patient and nurses.

Zydziunaite et al (2013) note that a transformational leader can motivate both the followers and the leader and generate an environment that can creatively manage an ethical dilemma. I was confident in acting I manners that inspired other nurses, which enabled me to gain staff loyalty and respect. Through engaging staff members in the process of making decisions during an ethical dilemma, they were able to know that they are of great importance.


Nurses are faced with numerous legal, ethical and moral challenges in their career. When faced with a dilemma, nurses during delivery of care, they should choose a course of action that is appropriate ethically, morally and legally. Additionally, they should consider patients’ right to autonomy and use a treatment that the patient chooses.


Davoodvand, S., Abbaszadeh, A., & Ahmadi, F. (2016). Patient advocacy from the clinical nurses’ viewpoint: a qualitative study. Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, 9(5):1-8.

Icheku, V. (2014). Understanding Ethics and Ethical Decision-Making. Indiana:  Xlibris Corporation.

Marquis, B., & Houston, C. (2017) Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and             application. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Zydziunaite , V., Lepaite, D., & Suominen, T. (2013). Leadership styles in ethical dilemmas when head  nurses make decisions. International Nursing Review, 60(2):228-235 Understanding Ethics and Ethical Decision-Making.





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