Ethical Issues and Patients Care Information Privacy

Nursing is a great and demanding job requiring a thorough knowledge of ethical and medical principles. Ethical dilemmas are an ongoing challenge in the nursing profession. Nursing majors need to be aware of the ethical challenges they can encounter when treating patients and handling their private information, given the growing reliance on technology in healthcare. The growing need for ethical issues in the nursing profession, especially in treating patients and safeguarding their personal information, presents a challenge for nursing majors to confront and handle in their practice, as this paper will address with arguments regarding the topic. The arguments challenge patients according to the principles governing nursing professionals since they are the clients; however, such principles also bind them as nurses administer the healthcare services to them. Ethics are essential to nursing because they help provide better patient care. Because nursing is a challenging field, ethical problems are common among nurses. Thus, to solve such ethical dilemmas, nurses need to understand the rights of patients and their roles. However, nursing majors are essential in resolving these problems because they protect patient rights, guarantee enough staffing, make difficult decisions, and deliver high-quality patient care. Patients’ discomfort with treatment, refusal to be treated due to personal beliefs, and decisions regarding life or death frequently present nurses with ethical dilemmas. The American Nurses Association (ANA) is a code of ethics that brings a social contract between the general public and nurses regularly updated to reflect the challenges nurses face (Wakefield, 2021). Therefore, the American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics is adhered to by nurses to ensure high-quality care, especially in confronting ethical methods in patients’ privacy and treatment. Nurses face difficult and time-consuming ethical dilemmas that necessitate swift decision-making. Nurses are expected to respond to ethical dilemmas using their years of experience, interactions with patients, empathy, and open communication.

Reasons why nursing majors will need to confront concerns about the ethical methods of treating patients and handling their personal information.

Informed consent refers to when a patient consents to a certain medical treatment after being fully informed of the risks, advantages, and alternatives; that is an important phase in medical care because it ensures that patients can make well-informed decisions about their health. However, there have been occasions when patients suffered horrendous outcomes because informed consent was neglected. Nurses need to understand the significance of informed consent and work closely with their patients to ensure they are completely aware of all the risks and benefits of any potential medical treatment. Oldland as al., (158) argues that informed consent occasionally causes nurses to face dilemmas based on concerns over whether patients and their families have been informed of or understand the therapies given to a patient can lead to a problem. Some patients are reluctant to ask questions or give consent because they don’t completely comprehend the implications of their therapy, which is cause for concern. Patients who trust their doctors and nurses and feel supported are more likely to follow a treatment plan and have better results. Nurses should ensure patients understand every element of their treatment plans to avoid moral dilemmas. They should not expose patients’ information, such as understanding the associated dangers, the practicalities of a process, the effects of different drugs and treatments, and so forth. Inaction could harm the health of patients and cost hospitals money. Healthcare practitioners should take all necessary steps to ensure that their patients understand the treatment plan to obtain informed consent (McGuire., et al., 18). Family members may decide to withhold medical information from unwell patients to protect their loved one’s feelings. Patients, however, have a right to information regarding their medical conditions. Deciding how to disclose this knowledge cannot be simple, especially if it conflicts with the family’s values. Honesty, or integrity, is encouraged as an important component of nurse-patient relationships by the American Nurses Association (ANA).

For nurses, maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality is a top ethical priority. If done incorrectly, this might have serious legal repercussions for healthcare workers. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) safeguards individuals’ medical information; thus, there are different limits and rules for preserving patient privacy (Gajarawala et al., 220). Nurses must respect their patients’ autonomy even though they must protect their rights and act in their best interests. Patient autonomy entails the right of patients to make decisions about their care based on personal or cultural beliefs. It is a key nursing principle that all healthcare professionals should uphold. Patient autonomy allows for the refusal of medications, treatments, or interventions. Nurses must accept this choice and act following it even when it may go against what doctors and other nurses advise. Electronic health records (EHRs) have increased public access to private health data. Patients are put at tremendous risk because unauthorized people could obtain their private information and misuse it. Nurses need to understand how crucial it is to preserve patient information’s privacy and take appropriate action. It entails following stringent security guidelines, encrypting patient data, employing secure networks, and implementing access restrictions to stop illegal access to electronic records, among other things.

Additionally, Patient autonomy is an ethical problem that nursing majors must deal with. Patient autonomy is the ability of a patient to choose their medical care without regard to the advice or suggestions of their healthcare professionals. Since patients occasionally choose to go against their doctor’s advice, this can be a complicated situation. While ensuring they receive the greatest care possible, nursing majors must respect their patients’ autonomy which necessitates striking a fine balance between upholding their autonomy and acting in their best interests. Shared decision-making is far more ethical when it comes to patient care than when healthcare professionals have total authority. Sharing patient decision-making increases patient autonomy when patients and medical professionals work together to determine the optimal patient care choice (Poorchangizi et al., 2). Through shared decision-making, patients and healthcare professionals can candidly discuss a patient’s history, values, beliefs, and culture, which promotes trust between patients and physicians. Without a relationship, it is very challenging for nurses and other healthcare personnel to collaborate and communicate with patients efficiently. When patients actively participate in decision-making, they are more likely to be satisfied with their care and confident in the doctor’s treatment recommendations. Nursing staff should be aware of the value of patient education, even if the information communicated with patients is complex. The science-based and goal-oriented character of healthcare may conflict with personal or religious convictions. Some faiths prohibit life-saving measures and medical interventions (Varkey., 20). Nursing care focuses on reducing suffering so patients can concentrate on caring for themselves. Patients or their families with firm spiritual and religious beliefs may be more concerned with stringent rules. The ANA Code of Ethics requires nurses to respect their patients’ “unique differences,” which include their “lifestyle and religious beliefs. Respect for the idea “does not indicate that the nurse personally endorses those views or activities.” If a patient does not understand the treatment, disagreements may arise between patients and the nurses.

Advanced care planning is a touchy subject for healthcare providers to discuss when discussing end-of-life care. These discussions occur when patients and doctors need to make arrangements for their future medical care. Patients think about, talk about, and document their unique healthcare choices. This process assists them in identifying their goals and principles for future medical care. They also share with whom they want to make health care decisions if they cannot do so themselves. Nurses are often responsible for ensuring that these wishes are communicated and respected in a medical emergency. It may be problematic if a patient requests not to use a ventilator but their immediate family argues otherwise. Even though it’s challenging, nurses must put patients’ needs and wants first, especially while doing end-of-life care. Patients have the option to reject prescribed prescriptions, which nurses must administer. Despite having certain requirements, patient autonomy occasionally runs afoul of medical recommendations. Patients have the right to reject all medical care. According to (Oldland et al., 98), the American Nurses Association emphasizes that understanding patient histories and unique circumstances is crucial for nurses and nursing majors to communicate to patients the importance of receiving medical care. The ANA claims that a comforting, courteous, open, and honest approach should be used when applying moral values to solve a problem. This procedure should follow a good ethical decision-making paradigm and adhere to the best evidence-based practice recommendations to the best of the nurse’s ability, guided by the nursing profession principle.

Although it might not be an ethical concern for specific nurses, nurses should be aware of the shortage of funding and staffing for patient care. When medical facilities lack resources, patients risk not receiving the proper treatment, causing nurses to make challenging decisions (Oldland et al., 120). When facilities are faced with insufficient staffing numbers, difficult decisions may also need to be taken. Nurses cannot meet every patient’s needs when there is not enough staff. Patient needs can include providing for the patient’s physical and emotional needs during the healing process. Work demands and severe stress compromise a nurse’s moral responsibility to patients. They are left to struggle with their priorities as they face mental obstacles. Due to the rising healthcare expense, nurse majors must increasingly balance patient needs with financial restrictions. Due to a shortage of resources, many medical facilities run the danger of not providing patients with essential care. Among these resources are medical personnel and supplies. The budgeting process should include staff members so that nursing leaders can better grasp the demands and needs.

Patients are mostly in fear of their information being exposed to third parties, especially those suffering from diseases such as HIV, and doubt the assurance of nurses that their data are safe. Based on the principles of professional nurses, they are responsible for monitoring patient privacy because technical faults in the technologies used in healthcare facilities could cause issues with accuracy; therefore, nurses pay attention to patients’ privacy. Patients always believe that recording their information electronically is totally safe; however, it can also be prone to risk unless it is under responsible individuals. According to (Varkey., 20), nurses are supposed to be aware of the moral issues raised by using technology in healthcare. For instance, when telehealth is used more frequently, there is a chance that patient data will be compromised or stolen, revealing private information to unauthorized parties. Due to the technology utilized in healthcare facilities being inaccessible to unauthorized individuals, patients are guaranteed their privacy of theirs. Nurses should be alert and aware of the security concerns posed by technology. They must take action to protect patient information. The accuracy of technology in healthcare is another concern. Nurses should be aware of the significance of ensuring patient data is accurate and current and should take action to fix any potential inaccuracies.


A wide range of ethical challenges, such as those involving patient privacy, informed consent, patient autonomy, and the use of technology in healthcare, are faced by nursing majors in their line of work. Nursing majors must be aware of the ethical values that underpin their profession and take action to make sure they are adhering to these standards in their practice to overcome these difficulties, which entails following stringent security procedures to safeguard patient information, collaborating with patients to guarantee informed permission, respecting patient autonomy, and keeping an eye out for the dangers of using technology in healthcare. Nursing majors can give their patients the best treatment possible and uphold the integrity of the nursing profession by being aware of these ethical concerns and taking action to address them. Dealing with ethical dilemmas can be challenging; thus, it is better to surround oneself with tenured, skilled nurses who can help. Working with international nurses, such as those hired by Avant Healthcare Professionals, helps hospital staff better comprehend the range of emotions patients encounter while in the hospital. They can be of great aid to patients who are reluctant because of their ethnic origins because their experiences may be comparable. Organizations can debate ethical concerns thanks to a broad range of nurses. These open discussions help patients because they feel more comfortable and understood by the hospital staff. Based on other nurses’ experiences throughout the world, nurses come up with unique solutions to ethical problems. If nurses do not appropriately handle ethical issues, there may be a deterioration in patient care, hostile clinical interactions, and moral suffering. Majors in nursing experience the most stress surrounding ethical issues because their nurses look up to them for their leadership and mentorship during these tough times. All nursing majors must work together to guarantee that all acceptable and moral choices are made in accordance with their patients’ preferences and best interests.