The most critical role of a nurse is preparing and caring for the patient’s death. Fridh (2014) deduces that death is an ethical issue in nursing. Nurses that care for a dying patient must be well conversant with relevant ethical principles to efficiently examine the associate dilemma. The health care sector has been experiencing changes over the years, the most recent ones being the introduction of healthcare alternatives. These alternatives provide intricate morals when a series of decisions arise about the dying patient. One of the most critical decisions entails deciding on whether to continue providing healthcare for the seriously ailing patient or terminating the treatment to allow the patient to die (Fridh, 2014). Key parties involved in making this decision are the family members of the patient, his or her loved ones, the nurse and the patient. The end-of-life care is critical.
Caring for a dying patient has become so complex in the present days than before. This complexity is mostly experienced in the hospice care that advocates for an idealistic and holistic method to care for a dying patient (Glaser & Strauss, 2017). It is also experienced in instances where the patient, the nurses and doctors, family members, associate professional, and social workers are working jointly in the decision making process regarding a dying patient. The role of the nurse during end-of-life care is to make the patient entirely comfortable with the final days. The entire process entails managing pain for the patient, symptoms management, show a value of life and ordinary death management to ease the physical body of the patient (Glaser & Strauss, 2017). Based on this description of the end-of-life process, it is quite clear that it takes more than an ordinary nurse to efficiently care for a dying patient.
According to Moscrop & Robbins (2013), efficient end-of-life care should entail administering tolerable pain and symptoms to ensure that the patient feels as comfortable as possible. While doing so, the nurse should evade a protracted death process and support efficient and unambiguous communication between all the concerned parties. Moscrop & Robbins (2013) state that there should also be a sense of control, adequate preparation for the death for both the patient and the loved ones, getting a sense of life completion and ensuring that the patient understands that even though the life is ending, he or she has been a worthy individual. Last yet important, the nurse should boost the love between the patients and the loved ones. Caring for a dying patient follows the autonomy law to the latter. In this context, the law of autonomy is used to mean the capability of a person to be in charge of conditions and circumstances. It is partially believed that the end-of-life care entails nurturing a good relationship between the patient and the loved ones to control stress over the deadly incident. This way, caring for a dying patient goes beyond a mere provision of medical care to incorporate social services, spiritual support, nutrition, and grief canceling for both the dying patient and the family members.
Ethical principles guide nurses and other healthcare professionals in offering efficient end-of-life care for the appropriate patients. The doctors, healthcare personnel and the nurses are steered by ethics during professional duties and resolution making processes. According to Sleeman & Collis (2013), these principles include non-maleficence, autonomy, beneficence, and justice. Non-maleficence principles require healthcare personnel to provide end-of-life care services to patients with minimal harm to the patient. This principle requires the physicians to reduce any physical or emotional acts that can harm the patient either physically or psychologically. On the other hand, the principle of beneficence calls upon the nurse to offer endless assistance to the patient and take the best welfare actions against the patient at all time.
Distinctively, the principle of autonomy requires the nurses to avoid discriminative actions during the end-of-life care by recolonizing the patient’s rights to self-willpower. Last yet important, the principal of justice emphasizes the unbiased allotment of the medical resources based on the needs of all patients within the healthcare facility. Nurses are advised to offer healthcare resources to all patients in need of them irrespective of color, rank, material goods or doctrine. This principle aims at creating a sense of value, equality, and love, which is critical for dying patients. Besides these principals, there are also some ethical issues that the nurse must consider promptly. For instance, while preparing for the death of the patient, the family may arrange for the donation of some of his organs. In regards to this issue, the nurse may confer with the healthcare directives of the deceased in regards to the organ donation wishes (Sleeman & Collis, 2013). Therefore, dignity is also a fundamental requirement in caring for a dying patient.
To sum up, caring for dying patients is critical; nurses face frequent issues and actualities relating to ethical dilemmas. End-of-life care entails pain and symptom management, nurturing a good relationship between the patient and the loved ones and ensuring that the patient understands that his life is valuable. During this process, nurses are required to make significant choices including the amount of information that they should provide to the patients. Apparently, none of the choices is easy to make. For instance, when a patient asks a doctor to help him die, the latter must consider the limits of the ethical principles of autonomy. Therefore, caring for a dying patient is quite critical and engaging.