As a student nurse, I was placed on clinical rotation in a mental health clinic. I expected this placement to be just like a medical-surgical ward. But during interactions with psychiatric patients, I found the situation to be quite different and I faced an ethical dilemma.
I encountered a feeling of anxiety and fear in trying to communicate with psychiatric patients. At the same time, I had a feeling that I have a duty of care towards these patients. I also felt that what if the patient don’t want to talk with me and I am still imposing myself on him.
I faced an ethical dilemma of a natural fear of unknown and the conflict as a student nurse to provide care to those in need.
These feelings and associated dilemma are normal process and faced by many student nurses as well as more experienced nurses (Abraham, Cramer, & Palleschi, 2018). Nurses are expected to always act in a manner to protect and promote the wellbeing of their patients(Gibson, n.d.). Nurse face difficulties in taking control of their negative feelings during the care of psychiatric patients (Aydın Er, 2017). Nurses and other healthcare providers can deal with ethical dilemmas by developing critical thinking skills, identifying moral issues and developing ethical understanding (Pachkowski, 2018).
A nurses primary duty is towards her clients and she can better deal with moral problems by better preparing about them. Like this journal which draws upon the framework of Gibbs’ reflective cycle (“Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle,” n.d.), a nurse can critically analyze the moral dilemmas and effectively deal with it.
I plan to learn more about psychiatric patients and the problems faced by them. I will study more about the ethical and legal issues in psychiatric nursing care. I will actively deal with my feelings by critically analyzing them.
Abraham, S. P., Cramer, C., & Palleschi, H. (2018). Walking on Eggshells: Addressing Nursing Students' Fear of the Psychiatric Clinical Setting. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 56(9), 5–8. https://doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20180322-01
Aydın Er, R. (2017). Ethical problems experienced by nurses who work in psychiatry clinics in Turkey. Journal of Psychiatric Nursing. https://doi.org/10.14744/phd.2017.97720
Gibbs’ reflective cycle. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2020, from The University of Edinburgh website: https://www.ed.ac.uk/reflection/reflectors-toolkit/reflecting-on-experience/gibbs-reflective-cycle
Gibson, C. (n.d.). Ethical dilemmas faced bymental health nurses [Text]. https://journals.rcni.com/doi/abs/10.7748/ns.11.48.38.s42
Pachkowski, K. S. (2018). Ethical competence and psychiatric and mental health nursing education. Why? What? How? Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 25(1), 60–66. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpm.12439
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