An ethical Dilemma arises in a situation concerning right or wrong when values are in conflict. Nursing is a career where ethical dilemmas are presented nearly every day. Whether a nurse works in a hospital, doctors office or medical clinic, she likely will find that she is faced with a tough decision at least once a day. Dilemmas that require an ethical explanation are quite common at work whereas, conflicts arise when an organization has people who are diverse in nationality, age, education, race, religion, sex, socioeconomic status and employment experience. As a healthcare worker for over a decade, I have never experience a racial experience until working at a local hospital in the Tampa bay area.
As nurses, we display compassion, nurturing and caring, but when we are treated a different type of way because of our skin color, then we have a dilemma. Ethics rely on logical and rational criteria to reach a decision and cognitive process. The ethical dilemma that I was faced with is Defamation of Character. This occurs when an individual’s character or reputation is tarnished because of a fraudulent statement or action of another individual. As I entered the room to greet my patient, the first thing that came from the patient’s mouth was, “ I don’t want no N***a nurse. He begin to use all types of profanity towards I and the night shift nurse as she provided bedside report. Due to the room being semi-private, the other patient witness the behavior of the patient and apologize for his behavior.
Once shift report was completed, I immediately informed the charge nurse of the incident and was assigned to a different room. Never have I ever felt so violated with the words that came from the patient’s mouth. One part of me wanted to retaliate and say something back, but the professional in me, guided me to ignore the ignorance. Growing up the inner city, I vowed to become more than my circumstances. The color of my skin should not define who I am. If he preferred a nurse of his own race, he could have requested that, instead of belittling my character.
Moreover, my biggest concern was why management allowed this type of behavior. If the population that normally receives care at your hospital does not prefer woman and men of color, allow that person to choose another hospital to receive care. Why hire us if we are not wanted? It does not feel good knowing that we take an oath to provide care the sick and we are treated as if we are not equal. The patient care technician that was assigned to me was a Caucasian female. The patient ask for his medication and requested she administer it because she was not of my color decedent.
Furthermore, my heart was torn, knowing that people still had that mindset and refused the care from someone of my skin color. My biggest disbelief is that management never apologize for his behavior and allowing the behavior to take place, not ensuring the nurses safety within their facility.