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Assignment 2 Moral Dilemmas and Ethical Decisions


Create a 15-minute oral presentation (3–4 pages) that examines the moral and ethical issues related to triaging patients in an emergency room.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course criteria:

    • Explain the effect of health care policies, legislation, and legal issues on health care delivery and patient outcomes.
      • Explain the health care policies that can affect emergency care.
      • Recommend evidence-based decision-making strategies nurses can use during triage.
    • Apply professional nursing ethical standards and principles to the decision-making process.
      • Describe the moral and ethical challenges nurses can face when following hospital policies and protocols.
      • Explain how health care disparities impact treatment decisions.
    • Communicate in a manner that is consistent with expectations of nursing professionals.
      • Write content clearly and logically, with correct use of grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.
      • Correctly format citations and references using APA style.


Working in an emergency room gives rise to ethical dilemmas. Due to time restraints and the patient’s cognitive impairment and lack of medical history, complications can and do occur. The nurse has very little time to get detailed patient information. He or she must make a quick assessment and take action based on hospital protocol. The organized chaos of the emergency room presents unique ethical challenge, which is why nurses are required to have knowledge of ethical concepts and principles.

Questions to Consider

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of your professional community.

    • How does a triage nurse decide which patient gets seen first?
    • How does health disparity affect the triage nurse’s decision making?
    • What ethical and moral issues does the triage nurse take into account when making a decision?
    • What are triage-level designations?


Library Resources

    • Tingle, J., & Cribb, A. (Eds.). (2014). Nursing law and ethics (4th ed.). Somerset, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
    • Cranmer, P., & Nhemachena, J. (2013). Ethics for nurses: Theory and practice. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.
    • Aacharya, R. P., Gastmans, C., & Denier, Y. (2011). Emergency department triage: An ethical analysis. B MC Emergency Medicine, 11(1), 16–29.

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