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Covid‐19: Ethical Challenges for Nurses

Abstract: The Covid‐19 pandemic has highlighted many of the difficult ethical issues that health care professionals confront in caring for patients and families. The decisions such workers face on the front lines are fraught with uncertainty for all stakeholders. Our focus is on the implications for nurses, who are the largest global health care workforce but whose perspectives are not always fully considered. This essay discusses three overarching ethical issues that create a myriad of concerns and will likely affect nurses globally in unique ways: the safety of nurses, patients, colleagues, and families; the allocation of scarce resources; and the changing nature of nurses’ relationships with patients and families. We urge policy‐makers to ensure that nurses’ voices and perspectives are integrated into both local and global decision‐making so as to minimize the structural injustices many nurses have faced to date. Finally, we urge nurses to seek sources of support throughout this pandemic.

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The Hastings Center has never shied away from the toughest ethical challenges faced by society.

LET US SHARE OUR EXPERIENCES WITH YOU!

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