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Autonomy in Nursing

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The principle of autonomy is the capacity to have the say-so about your own well-being, “the capacity to act on your decisions freely and independently,” (Bueauchamp & Childress 2008). The principle of autonomy holds that a patient has the right to make his or her own decision regarding treatment — including the right to refuse treatment — without being coerced by medical staff or family members.
The principle of autonomy does not guarantee a person the right to do harm to oneself, due to the fact that even though the individual has the rational choice to make decisions in the best interest of his or her well-being, doing something harmful to oneself is not in the interest of the individual's well-being, and this harmful act tends to affect others in a negative fashion. An example of this concept, would be an individual severely lacerating his or her face with a razor, this situation will cause a great deal of money to have to be spent in relation to their medical treatment, even if it is spent by their health insurance company, due to the fact that the premiums of other individuals will go up due to excessive usage of insurance coverage. In addition, family members will also tend to suffer emotionally from an individual's self-mutilating actions. Time, effort, and medical supplies, will be used by healthcare professionals in response to this harmful act as well, so a harmful act to oneself, is also harmful to society at large. It is quite clear that an individual has no right to do something that is harmful to others based on the principle of autonomy, because an individual's freedom to make rational decisions in reference to their self-determination, does not give them the right to decide whether or not to harm another individual, which is infringing upon that individual's rights. The principle of autonomy is based on the fact that individuals have the right to make freely chosen decisions based on their analysis of situations, but this should be based on the ethical rationale of doing what is right and just, due to the fact that ethical rationale involves analyzing situations and making a decision that is aligned with doing what is right, or justice.

Reference
Beauchamp, T, Childress, J.F: Principles of biomedical ethics. 6th, 2008, Oxford University Press, New York.…...

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