Chapter 22: Ethics and Values Nursing School Test Banks

Test Bank

MULTIPLE CHOICE

1. Four patients in labor all request epidural analgesia to manage their pain at the same time. Which ethical principle is compromised when only one nurse anesthetist is on call?

a.

Justice

b.

Nonmaleficence

c.

Beneficence

d.

Fidelity

ANS: A

Justice refers to fairness and is used frequently in discussion regarding access to health care resources. Here the just distribution of resources, in this case pain management, cannot be justly apportioned. Nonmaleficence means do no harm, beneficence means to do good, and fidelity means to be true to, or honest. Each of these principles is partially expressed in the question; however, justice is most comprised because not all laboring patients have equal access to pain management owing to lack of personnel resources.

DIF: Understand REF: 287 OBJ: Discuss the role of ethics in professional nursing.

TOP: Implementation MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment

2. The patient tells the nurse that she is afraid to speak up regarding her desire to end care for fear of upsetting her husband and children. Which principle in the nursing code of ethics ensures that the nurse will promote the patients cause?

a.

Responsibility

b.

Advocacy

c.

Confidentiality

d.

Accountability

ANS: B

Nurses advocate for patients when they support the patients cause. A nurses ability to adequate advocate for a patient is based on the unique relationship that develops and the opportunity to better understand the patients point of view. Responsibility refers to respecting ones professional obligations and following through on promises. Confidentiality deals with privacy issues, and accountability refers to owning ones actions.

DIF: Understand REF: 287 OBJ: Discuss the role of ethics in professional nursing.

TOP: Diagnosis MSC: Psychological Integrity

3. The patients son requests to view the documentation in his mothers medical record. What is the nurses best response to this request?

a.

Ill be happy to get that for you.

b.

You will have to talk to the physician about that.

c.

You will need your mothers permission.

d.

You are not allowed to see it.

ANS: C

The nurse understands that sharing health information is governed by HIPAA legislation, which defines rights and privileges of patients for protection of privacy. Private health information cannot be shared without the patients specific permission. The other three responses either are outright false and/or use poor communication techniques.

DIF: Apply REF: 287 OBJ: Discuss the role of ethics in professional nursing.

TOP: Evaluation MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment

4. When people work together to solve ethical dilemmas, individuals must examine their own values. This step is crucial to ensure that

a.

The group identifies the one correct solution.

b.

Fact is separated from opinion.

c.

Judgmental attitudes are not provoked.

d.

Different perspectives are respected.

ANS: D

Values are personal beliefs that influence opinions. To be able to negotiate differences in opinions, the nurse must first be clear about personal values, which will influence behaviors, decisions, and actions. Ethical dilemmas are a problem in that no one right solution exists.

DIF: Remember REF: 288 OBJ: Discuss the role of values in the study of ethics.

TOP: Evaluation MSC: Psychological Integrity

5. Ethical dilemmas are common occurrences when caring for patients. The nurse understands that dilemmas are a result of

a.

Presence of conflicting values.

b.

Hierarchical systems.

c.

Judgmental perceptions of patients.

d.

Poor communication with the patient.

ANS: A

Poor communication and the hierarchical systems that exist in health care, such as reporting structures within the hospital or the historically unequal relationship between physicians and nurses, may complicate dilemmas. The primary, underlying reason that ethical dilemmas occur is that there are no clear cut, universally accepted solutions to a problem when participating individuals do not share the same values. Without clarification of values, the nurse may not be able to distinguish fact from opinion or value, and this can lead to judgmental attitudes.

DIF: Understand REF: 288 OBJ: Discuss the role of values in the study of ethics.

TOP: Assessment MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment

6. The nurse questions a physicians order to administer a placebo to the patient. The nurses action is based on which ethical principle?

a.

Autonomy

b.

Beneficence

c.

Justice

d.

Fidelity

ANS: A

Autonomy refers to the freedom to make decisions free of external control. In this case, the nurse questions the physicians order for a placebo because it supports the patients autonomy. Although beneficence, taking a positive action for others, has implications here, it is not the primary operating principle. Justice refers to fairness and is most often used in discussions about access to health care resources. Fidelity refers to the agreement to keep promises.

DIF: Understand REF: 287 OBJ: Examine and clarify personal values.

TOP: Implementation MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment

7. The nurse finds it difficult to care for a patient whose advance directive states that no extraordinary resuscitation measures should be taken. Which step may help the nurse to find resolution in this assignment?

a.

Call for an ethical committee consult.

b.

Decline the assignment on religious grounds.

c.

Scrutinize her own personal values.

d.

Convince the family to challenge the directive.

ANS: C

Values develop over time and are influenced by family, schools, religious traditions, and life experiences. The nurse must recognize that no two humans have the same set of experiences, and so differences in values are more likely the norm than the exception. Closer inspection of ones values may be a step in gaining understanding of another persons perspective. Calling for a consult, declining the assignment, and convincing the family to challenge the patients directive are not ideal resolutions because they do not address the reason for the nurses discomfort, which is the conflict between the nurses values and those of the patient.

DIF: Apply REF: 288 OBJ: Examine and clarify personal values.

TOP: Assessment MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment | Psychological Integrity

8. The nurse values autonomy above all other principles. Which patient assignment will the nurse find most difficult to accept?

a.

Teenager in labor who requests epidural anesthesia

b.

Middle-aged father of three with an advance directive declining life support

c.

Elderly patient who requires dialysis

d.

Family elder who is making the decisions for a 30-year-old female member

ANS: D

Autonomy refers to freedom from external control. A person who values autonomy highly may find it difficult to accept situations where the patient is not the primary decision maker regarding his or her care. A teenager requesting an epidural, a father with an advanced directive, and an elderly patient requiring dialysis all describe a patient or family that can make their own decisions and choices regarding care.

DIF: Analyze REF: 286 OBJ: Examine and clarify personal values.

TOP: Evaluation MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment | Psychological Integrity

9. Which philosophy of health care ethics would be particularly useful when making ethical decisions about vulnerable populations?

a.

Feminist ethics

b.

Deontology

c.

Bioethics

d.

Utilitarianism

ANS: A

Feminist ethics particularly focuses on the nature of relationships, especially those where there is a power imbalance or a point of view that is not routinely accepted. Examples of populations that are considered vulnerable include children, pregnant women, incarcerated persons, and minority groups. Deontology refers to making decisions or right-making characteristics, bioethics focuses on consensus building, and utilitarianism speaks to the greatest good for the greatest number.

DIF: Remember REF: 289 OBJ: Examine basic philosophies of health care ethics.

TOP: Assessment MSC: Physiological Integrity

10. A nurse argues that we need to reform our health care system because we have a large number of people who are uninsured and end up needing expensive emergent care when low-cost measures could have prevented their illnesses. What ethical framework is she using to make this case?

a.

Deontology

b.

Ethics of care

c.

Feminist ethics

d.

Utilitarianism

ANS: D

Utilitarianism is a system of ethics that believes that value is determined by usefulness. This system of ethics focuses on the outcome of the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Deontology would not look to consequences of actions. The ethics of care would not be helpful because consensus on this issue is not achievable. Relationships, which are an important component of feminist ethics, are not addressed in this case.

DIF: Evaluate REF: 289 OBJ: Examine basic philosophies of health care ethics.

TOP: Assessment MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment

11. The nurse has become aware of missing narcotics in the patient care area. Which ethical principle obligates the nurse to report the missing medications?

a.

Advocacy

b.

Responsibility

c.

Confidentiality

d.

Accountability

ANS: B

Responsibility refers to ones willingness to respect and adhere to ones professional obligations. One of the obligations nursing has is to protect patients and communities, including other nurses. If narcotics are missing, this may indicate that patients have not received medications ordered for their care, or it may suggest that a health care professional may be working under the influence. Accountability refers to the ability to answer for ones actions. Advocacy refers to the support of a particular cause. The concept of confidentiality is very important in health care and involves protecting patients personal health information.

DIF: Understand REF: 287 OBJ: Explain a nursing perspective in ethics.

TOP: Evaluation MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment

12. A young woman who is pregnant with a fetus exposed to multiple teratogens consents to have her fetus undergo serial PUBS (percutaneous umbilical blood sampling) to examine how exposure affects the fetus over time. Although these tests will not improve the fetus outcomes and will expose it to some risks, the information gathered may help infants in the future. Which ethical principle is at greatest risk?

a.

Autonomy

b.

Fidelity

c.

Nonmaleficence

d.

Beneficence

ANS: C

Nonmaleficence is the ethical principle that focuses on avoidance of harm or hurt. The nurse must balance risks and benefits of care. Repeated PUBS may place the mother and fetus at risk for infection and increased pain, and may place the mother at risk for increased emotional health stress. Fidelity refers to the agreement to keep promises. Autonomy refers to freedom from external control, and beneficence refers to taking positive actions to help others.

DIF: Apply REF: 287 OBJ: Apply critical thinking to ethical dilemmas.

TOP: Evaluation MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment

13. Which issue has increased the attention paid to quality of life concerns in recent history?

a.

Health care disparities

b.

National movement regarding disabled persons

c.

Aging of the population

d.

Health care financial reform

ANS: B

Quality of life (QOL) is often at the center of ethical dilemmas, including futile care and DNR discussions, and has been reshaped in the United States. The national effort to better respect the abilities of the disabled has forced Americans to reconsider the definition of QOL. Health care disparities, an aging population, and health care reform are components impacted by personal definitions of quality but are not the underlying reason why QOL discussions have arisen in the United States.

DIF: Remember REF: 292 OBJ: Discuss contemporary ethical issues.

TOP: Assessment MSC: Health Promotion and Maintenance

14. Which patient is most likely to have difficulty with the ethical concept of autonomy?

a.

18-year-old patient in labor

b.

35-year-old patient with appendicitis

c.

53-year-old patient with pancreatitis

d.

78-year-old patient with rheumatoid arthritis

ANS: D

The principle of autonomy refers to freedom from external control and includes commitment to include patients in decisions about their care. People from different generations have differing expectations regarding inclusion in their care. Often, patients who are part of the Silent Generation (born 1925-1945) value formality and authority, which may make them less comfortable with making their own health care decisions.

DIF: Understand REF: 286 OBJ: Discuss contemporary ethical issues.

TOP: Assessment MSC: Psychological Integrity

15. The nurse is caring for a severely ill patient with AIDS who now requires ventilator support. Which intervention is considered futile?

a.

Administering the influenza vaccine

b.

Providing oral care every 5 hours

c.

Applying fentanyl patches prn for pain

d.

Supporting the patients lower extremities with pillows

ANS: A

Futile refers to something that is hopeless or serves no useful purpose and in nursing refers to interventions that are unlikely to produce benefit for the patient. Care delivered to a patient at the end of life is focused on pain management and comfort measures. A vaccine is administered to prevent or lessen the likelihood of contracting an infectious disease at some time in the future.

DIF: Understand REF: 293 OBJ: Discuss contemporary ethical issues.

TOP: Implementation MSC: Psychological Integrity

16. During a severe respiratory epidemic, the local health care organizations decide to give health care providers priority access to ventilators over other members of the community who also need that resource. Which philosophy would give the strongest support for this decision?

a.

Feminist ethics

b.

Utilitarianism

c.

Deontology

d.

Ethics of care

ANS: B

Focusing on the greatest good for the most people, the organizations decide to ensure that as many health care workers as possible will survive to care for other members of the community.

DIF: Understand REF: 289 OBJ: Discuss contemporary ethical issues.

TOP: Implementation MSC: Psychological Integrity

17. Determinations regarding quality of life are

a.

Based on a persons ability to act according to ethical principles.

b.

Based on a patients self-determination.

c.

Value judgments that can vary from person to person.

d.

Consistent and stable over the course of ones lifetime.

ANS: C

Determinations regarding quality of life are value judgments. This means that they are judgments based on what individuals believe is desirable. Beliefs about what people find desirable vary from person to person.

DIF: Understand REF: 292 OBJ: Discuss contemporary ethical issues.

TOP: Implementation MSC: Psychological Integrity

OTHER

1. The nurse is caring for a patient supported with a ventilator who has been unresponsive since arrival via ambulance 8 days ago. The patient has not been identified, and no family members have been found. The nurse is concerned about the plan of care regarding maintenance or withdrawal of life support measures. The nurse determines that this is an ethical dilemma not resolved by scientific data. Place the steps the nurse will use to resolve this ethical dilemma in the correct order.

a. The nurse identifies possible solutions or actions to resolve the dilemma.

b. The nurse reviews the medical record, including entries by all health care disciplines, to gather information relevant to this patients situation.

c. Health care providers use negotiation to redefine the patients plan of care.

d. The nurse evaluates the plan and revises it with input from other health care providers as necessary.

e. The nurse arranges a meeting with health care team members to clarify opinions, values, and facts.

f. The nurse states the problem.

ANS:

B, E, F, A, C, D

Using the steps of processing an ethical dilemma, once the nurse identifies that an ethical dilemma exists, the nurse then gathers information relevant to the case; clarifies values and distinguishes between fact, opinion, and values; and verbalizes the problem. Then the nurse identifies possible solutions or actions, works with the health care team to negotiate a plan, and evaluates the plan over time.

DIF: Apply REF: 291-292 OBJ: Apply critical thinking to ethical dilemmas.

TOP: Assessment | Diagnosis | Evaluation | Implementation | Planning

MSC: Safe and Effective Care Environment

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