An Ethical Dilemma And Core Competencies for Nurses

An Ethical Dilemma And Core Competencies for Nurses

An Ethical Dilemma

Ethics in nursing is regarding the study of practical thinking. Nurses have a duty of employing ethical concepts in their patient care delivery. Ethical concepts in this case include offering rational, correct, and good care. Thus ethical nurse is obligated to offer individualized care that will help the patient to maintain and reach the highest degree of wellbeing. This include considering patient’s preferences in the care given. Ethical nursing care is founded on rational decision making and science. Ethical nursing is basically guided by four central concepts that include justice, no maleficence. The obligation to act with kindness, and respect to patient independence (Parker, 2007).

Based on the four core nursing principles, a nurse is forbidden from subjecting a patient to any king of harm. This can be done through a number of ways one of them being improper recording of the patient care information or failure to record patient care information. This can result to overdose or inability to trace the cause of medical errors or other causes of complication. In this regard, Jill’s failure to record the provided insulin subjected the patient to the risk of having excess insulin in the body and thus, lowering the blood sugar level to a dangerous level. Ethically, Jill was wrong and had subjected the patient into great harm. However, the situation was corrected by the patient mistake of taking a candy which could have raised his sugar level beyond normal and thus demanding extra insulin to lower it. When viewed in this perspective, then Jill’s mistake saved the patient from harm. Based on the fact that ethical decisions are meant to ensure the well-being of a patient, it is then not necessary to report Jill since there is no prove that Jill made a mistake that would harm the patient. The patient condition is perfectly fine. The best thing to do is to warn Jill never to make such a mistake in the future and to forget the incident.
Core Competencies for Nurses

Nursing process is basically guided by nursing core competencies. The most embraced core competencies in nursing include ensuring patient safety, quality care and patient education. These nursing competencies can be implemented in a number of ways. One of the best way to implementing this is by educating nurses about quality care and patient safety. Knowledge is very essential in nursing (Quality Safety Education for Nurses, 2015). Nurses need to have enough knowledge regarding the best practices that will ensure patients’ safety and quality of care. In the work environment, quality of care is also enhanced by developing a good relation with the patient. This will enhance effective communication between the patient and the nurse and thus providing the nurse with enough information regarding the patient’s condition, patient’s preference and the patient’s progress. Nurses should also have enough knowledge and skills to take part in team work. In this case, nurses will require knowing their strength and weaknesses in teamwork, demonstrate knowledge in the teamwork scope, be able to identify barriers and ways to overcome these barriers in teamwork (American Nurses Association, 2010).

Basically, the core competencies can be implemented in a health care environment through learning, research, exposure, supervision and development of working policy. Knowledge, skills and positive attitude is highly needed to enhance the implementation of core competencies. In this regard, nursing organizations should develop strategies to enhance knowledge, skill and proficiency as well as good attitude among nurses. This will include providing the right facilities, providing regular training and workshops, encouraging professional networking, promoting research, creating a conducive work environment and enhancing a good work relation among nurses. This will promote knowledge propagation, development of new skills and spread of positive attitude and high job morale and work satisfaction. This will enhance the implementation of nursing core competencies (Dearholt & Dang, 2012).


American Nurses Association. (2010). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: Author.

Dearholt, S. L. & Dang, D. (2012). Johns Hopkins nursing evidence-based practice: Model and guidelines (2nd ed.). Indianapolis, In: Sigma Theta Tau International.

Quality Safety Education for Nurses. (2015). Retrieved from

Parker, F. (2007). Ethics column: The power of one. OJIN: Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 13(1). Retrieved from <>