This assignment seeks to explore the ethical issues that may present to the DNP-nurse in theory and compare these to experiences from practice to date. The work of a nurse is constantly influenced by ethical dilemmas, when considering the best interest of the patient (Milton 2010). The focus in this assignment will be on social responsibility and respect for the person, highlighted as potential ethical issues for the DNP (Silva and Ludwick, 2012).

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Social responsibility
Social responsibility is an area of relevance to the broader role of nurse, or other health care professional, with the focus this profession places on meeting the medical and care needs of others, often in a vulnerable or needier position. Whilst this ethical consideration can be the motivation to engage in nursing and healthcare, it may be particularly highlighted for those engaging in DNP, given the lack of clarity identified over the philosophy supporting this nursing pathway (Silva and Ludiwick, 2012).

There are a number of practice situations when this ethical consideration is relevant, in particular the decision to engage in nursing as a profession, with an intent to provide care to others. Whilst this clearly draws on the social responsibility that may be met through provision of nursing care, this may be less evident to the role of DNP given the focus on theoretical studies alongside practice and the potential for suggestion of this as providing an unnecessary distraction from direct nursing care.

Respect for the person
An additional ethical position is that of respect for the person. Again, this may be considered a central component of nursing practice, focusing directly on the needs of the patient (Silva and Ludwick, 2012). This may present the DNP with a situation in which their attention must be redirected to the patient over the financial business needs of their ward. An example from practice is a situation when an individual has directed that they do not wish to be resuscitated, whilst family members disagree. Respect for the person suggests the nurse should be attentive to the patient’s wishes. The DNP may be in a position to have explored this potential dilemma during studies (Pierce and Smith, 2008), and offer a number of ways to address this challenge.

  • Milton, C. L. (2010). Nursing ethics and power in position. Nursing Science Quarterly, 23(1), 18–21, [Online] doi:10.1177/0894318409353812 (Accessed 29 December 2013).
  • Peirce, A. G., & Smith, J. A. (2008). The ethics curriculum for doctor of nursing practice programs. Journal of Professional Nursing, 24(5), 270–274 [Online] doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2007.06.008 (Accessed 30 December 2013).
  • Silva, M. and Ludwick R., (March 20, 2006) Ethics: Is the Doctor of Nursing Practice Ethical?, The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 11(2) [Online] DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol11No02EthCol01.