Law and Ethics

Patient safety is the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the health care process and the reduction of risk of unnecessary harm associated with health care to an acceptable minimum (WHO, 2020). Discharge of patients from the ICU to a general ward is associated with errors and adverse events which compromise patient safety.

In nursing, ethics offers a framework to protect the best interest of both the patient and the health care provider since nurses’ work mainly focuses on patients. All decisions in health and illness have an ethical component. An ethical dilemma arises when value claims conflict, causing the nurse to face a choice with equally unsatisfying alternatives. Nurses face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis in caring for patients and their families. Therefore, ethical decision-making is a critical part of the daily practice of nursing. Decision-making in ethical dilemmas, such as patient safety, requires the application of a systematic process for decision-making using ethical decision models such as Thompson and Thompson.

Thompson and Thompson (1985) developed a bioethical decision process using critical inquiry and moral reasoning in 10 steps to be used in identifying and analysing ethical issues that are present in nursing practice.

The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate a systemic approach to ethical decision-making that nurses can use when confronted with the dilemma of patient safety issues using the Thomson & Thomson (1985) bioethical decision model.