The Ethical Issue of Informed Consent in Nursing Analytical Essay by scribbler

The Ethical Issue of Informed Consent in Nursing
A review of an ethical dilemma in nursing regarding patient autonomy in decision-making.
# 153417 | 1,579 words | 5 sources | APA | 2013 | US

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The paper describes the nursing problem that involves a young woman with a dangerously low body mass index (BMI) who has been diagnosed with anorexia and is refusing to accept physical or mental health treatment. The paper explains the goal of the intervention that is for the patient to accept nutritional and psychological counseling, and highlights the ethical dilemma that is the question of patient autonomy in decision-making. The paper relates that forcing anorexics into treatment through legal and even psychological pressure has a very low success rate; the ideal situation is to encourage the anorexic to enter treatment willingly, and to make her feel as she is making the decision. The paper discusses the approach taken and emphasizes that recovering a sense of autonomy, distinct from one's eating behaviors, is a critical aspect of recovering from the illness.

Articulate the Problem
Gather Data
Explore Strategies
Implement the Strategy
Evaluate Outcomes

From the Paper:

"The nursing problem under consideration involves a young woman with a dangerously low BMI (body mass index). She has been diagnosed with anorexia and is refusing to accept physical or mental health treatment. According to the laws of the state, she is an adult. Furthermore, she meets the legal standards of competency. She is not delusional, and is capable of distinguishing right from wrong. While most states and codes of ethics mandate treatment if the individual refusing treatment poses an immediate risk to his or her own life and the lives of others, this is not the case with this young woman. She was initially admitted to the hospital for an electrolyte imbalance, possibly caused by purging, but her vital signs have been stabilized. However, her mother is understandably concerned and wishes her daughter to enter treatment.
"The current undesirable situation is that the girl continues to exhibit eating disordered behavior, putting herself at long-term risk. Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of any psychological illness. Even when an eating disordered patient's vital signs are stabilized, there is a long-term risk posed to the patient's heart, bone, and major organ systems. The longer eating disorders are left untreated, the greater the risks to the patient, physically and mentally, as the eating disordered patterns become habituated."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brown, K. W., N. Billcliff, & E. McCabe. (2001). Informed consent to medication in long-term psychiatric in-patients. The Psychiatrist 25: 132-134. Retrieved April 10, 2011 at
  • Caplan, Arthur. (2008) Denying autonomy in order to create it: the paradox of forcing treatment on addicts. Addiction, 103(12):1919-1921. Retrieved April 10, 2011 at
  • Carney T., D. Tait, A. Richardson, S. . (2008). Why (and when) clinicians compel treatment of anorexia nervosa patients. European Eating Disorders Review. 16(3):199-206.
  • Tan, J. T. Hope, A. Stewart, & R. Fitzpatrick. (2006) Competence to make treatment decisions in anorexia nervosa: thinking processes and values. Philosophy Psychiatric Psychology, 13(4): 267-282.Retrieved April 10, 2011 at
  • Thiels C. (2008). Forced treatment of patients with anorexia. Current Opinion Psychiatry. 21(5):495-8.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Ethical Issue of Informed Consent in Nursing (2013, May 30) Retrieved November 28, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Ethical Issue of Informed Consent in Nursing" 30 May 2013. Web. 28 November. 2023. <>