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Personal and Societal Values

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How Personal and Societal values can influence decision

As nurses we strongly believed that culture and religion have a significant effect on ethical decision-making. Health and medical care are strongly rooted in cultural and religious beliefs. Patients from other cultures and religion may find it difficult to accept the ethical decisions made in our culture. Leininger’s (1991) Culture Care Diversity and Universality theory of nursing emphasizes the importance of communication between nurses and patients to ensure that there is not a lack of humanity involved in nursing care (Ludwig & Silva, 2000). The theory also notes that when nurses care for international and culturally diverse patients, there is more likely to be communications disconnect (Ludwig & Silva, 2000). It is very important for nurses to be aware of our own cultural and religious values as well as biocultural differences in how the patient perceives the exam, responses to drugs, and healthcare practices (Ludwig & Silva, 2000). Ethical problems can arise over differences in how people of other religious view such things as withholding or withdrawing life support, restricting the resources given to elderly patients, and others (Hattar-Pollara, n.d.). We have to respect everybody beliefs and different ways they worship in their religions. Many times their religion and beliefs are completely different from what we are used to see. We need to understand how the patient’s culture and religion would view any nursing practice or ethical dilemma and give appropriate consideration to those views, acknowledging them and adhering to them wherever possible.

Hattar-Pollara, M (n.d.). Religious and Cultural Moral Values Informing the Process of Ethical Decision Making of Jordanian Nurses. Retrieved on December 13, 2013 from: Hattar-Pollara %2520JNC%25202010.

Ludwick, R., & Silva, M.C. (2000). Ethics: Nursing Around the World: Cultural Values and Ethical Conflicts. OJIN, 5(3). Retrieved on December 13, 2013 from: OJIN/Columns/Ethics/CulturalValuesandEthicalConflicts.aspx

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