How to Have Ethical Discussions in Your Practice
Having an outlet to consider, discuss, and reflect on oncology ethical issues that affect our daily practice is important in caring for each other in our profession. On our solid tumor oncology unit, monthly nursing ethics lunch and learns allow our nurses the opportunity to identify and discuss their concerns with recent patient cases involving ethical issues. Our hospital’s ethics committee chair facilitates the hour-long discussions held on the unit, along with a senior oncology nurse with significant training and background in clinical ethics.
The Case of the Blurred Boundaries
Roxanne, a blood and marrow transplant certified nurse, has been taking care of Jerome, a 20-year-old man diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Jerome is the eldest of seven children; his mother works full-time, and with younger children at home has not been able to make the trip across country to be with her son.
Is Sexual Harassment of Nurses Prevalent in Health Care?
The MeToo movement, an online campaign where women from all walks of life shared their stories of personal sexual assault and harassment, went viral in October 2017. The goal of their stories was to demonstrate the prevalence of sexual misconduct, especially in the workplace. Victims of sexual violence and harassment often go unnoticed and unheard, even though the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it affects approximately one third of women worldwide. In a 2017 poll of American women, 54% reported “unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances” and 95% said it goes unreported.
Are All Patients Treated Equally?
It’s 2017, and one would think that all patients are treated equally. Nursing has certainly been educated to treat all patients with the same levels of respect and dignity and to provide excellent medical care regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. In the theory of nursing, I think we all strive and believe that patients should be treated equally. However, at least for the reality of nursing that I work in, that doesn’t always feel true.
The Story of Henrietta Lacks Sheds Light on Ethical Considerations in Genetic Testing
Imagine a situation where a patient’s tumor cells were used for countless scientific experiments—without the patient’s informed consent. Safeguards are in place today to prevent such an ethical breach, but in 1951 Henrietta Lacks and her family weren’t as lucky. Author Rebecca Skloot shared Henrietta’s story in a 2010 nonfiction book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, that was adapted into a movie released on April 22, 2017.