December 2015

Q&A: Objecting to care on moral grounds

Can I object to providing nursing care to a client when I feel the care is in conflict with my personal beliefs?

The Ethics practice standard discusses what a nurse should do when faced with an ethical dilemma. For example, if your personal values conflict with situations such as, physician assisted dying, abortion or harm reduction.

First, you must consider your professional accountabilities. When a client’s wish conflicts with your personal values and you believe that you cannot provide care, your first obligation is to ensure the client’s well-being and provide the necessary care until a replacement caregiver is found.

Also, discuss these concerns with your employer as this may help you find an alternative nursing support for your client. If no other caregiver can be arranged, you must provide the immediate care required. If no other solution can be found, you may have to leave that place of employment to adhere to your personal values.


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