Discussion Question Ethical Theories and Principles essay

DiscussionQuestion: Ethical Theories and Principles

DiscussionQuestion: Ethical Theories and Principles

Boththe ethical theories and ethical principles provide the basis foranalyzing ethical issues. This is because both the ethical theoriesand ethical principles provide the viewpoints that can be used toassess the ethical basis of different actions (Gamlund, 2012).However, the two are different in that ethical theories are used todecide whether actions are wrong or right, but these theories shouldbe directed towards a specific set of goals. The ethical principlesserve as the common goals that the ethical theories seek to achievefor them to reach decisions that are ethically correct. The list ofcommon goals that the ethical theories are directed towards includesthe principle of least harm, beneficence, justice, and respect forautonomy. For example, the principle of beneficence is related to thetheory of utilitarianism in that it guides people to take actionsthat produce the largest ration of goodness or happiness over evil(CDHA, 2012). In this case, the theory of utilitarianism is directedtowards the goal of maximizing the happiness of the largest number ofpeople, which can only be achieved by doing what is considered to begood.

Applicationof ethical theories in a recovery room setting

Underthe utilitarianism theory, health care providers in a recovery roomare expected to base their actions on the consequences that they haveon patients (Gamlund, 2012). All services rendered within the roomshould seek to maximize the happiness of the largest number ofstakeholders, including patients and other health care professionals.

Thedeontological theory holds that people should take actions that areconsistent with their obligations (Gamlund, 2012). Health careproviders in a recovery room have a duty to deliver care that servesthe best interest of patients, which is to recover from theirillnesses.

Underthe virtue ethics, the actions of the health care providers would bejudged depending on their individual character (Gamlund, 2012). Undernormal circumstance, providers would be expected to exhibit severalcharacteristics, such as empathy, patience, and optimisms.

Therights theory is founded on the notion that actions can only beconsidered to be ethical when they are consistent with the rightsthat have been set by the society (Gamlund, 2012). For example, thesociety expects the health care nurses to demonstrate empathy andensure that all actions directed towards patients aim at facilitatingtheir recovery.

Nursesshould also be guided by the ethical principles when applying theaforementioned theories. The principle of least harm guide people inselecting alternatives that cause the least harm, especially whennone of the available options is beneficial (Canadian Dental HygieneAssociation, 2012). For example, nurses should deliver treatmentprocedures with the least side effects when the available optionshave varying types of side effects, but with the an equal level ofeffectiveness.

Theprinciple of beneficence guide nurses in doing what would beconsidered to be good (CDHA, 2012). For an instant, a nurse deployedin the recovery room is expected to take good actions, such asdelivery of therapy to clients with the intention of fast trackingtheir recovery.

Theprinciple of respect for autonomy holds that people should be giventhe right to make decisions that affect their lives (CDHA, 2012).Under this principle, nurses are expected to include the opinion ofclients when selecting the treatment methodology. Nurses shouldinform their clients about the side effects and the benefits of eachtherapeutic alternative and give them the chance to select theoptions that they like.

Theprinciple of justice states that all ethical actions should beconsistent with the ethical theories, unless there are somejustifiable extenuating circumstances (CDHA, 2012). For an instant,a nurse would be expected to keep the promise of consulting theclients in the recovery room at all-times, but it would bejustifiable to break this promise if the patient is in a criticalcondition.


Boththe ethical principles and ethical theories can be used to assess thewrongness or the rightness of the actions. Ethical principles providethe specific goals that should be achieved when applying the ethicaltheories. The ethical grounds of different actions can be evaluatedon the basis of the possible consequences that they might lead to,one’s duty, and character.


CanadianDental Hygiene Association (2012). Dentalhygienists’ code of ethics.Ottawa, ON: Canadian Dental Hygiene Association.

Gamlund,E. (2012). Ethics.Bergen: University of Bergen.