Does a nursing practitioner have a duty to work in a clinic without the fundamental resource of water?

Ralehike, Makhotso Merriam
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The purpose of this study is to explore the current situation where nursing practitioners find themselves working at the rural healthcare facilities where there is a lack of water as a fundamental resource necessary to render quality services. The ethical problem is a nurse’s obligation to care for patients in such a clinical setting and the risk of being exposed to infections, including SARS-Cov-2, which have the potential to harm human health and affect a nursing practitioner’s decision on whether to work in such a clinical facility or not. This study outlines the magnitude of the need of the South African nursing regulatory body to adopt a code of ethics that reflects the realities of the healthcare systems in rural health facilities in which nurses care for patients. I carried out a normative study, and the existing relevant legal and ethical literature was critically analysed. I employed my 8 (eight) years of experience working as a nursing practitioner in rural healthcare facilities, from which this research report topic grew. The moral argument was primarily based on relevant literature and laws, philosophical perspectives, where Kantian Deontology moral theory was analysed, and the bioethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. A conclusion is reached that current nursing guidelines and policies in place are not addressing the issue that nurses do not have a moral duty to practice in an underresourced health environment where the fundamental resource for hygiene and sanitation is lacking. A revised approach and potentially legal revisions toward developing and justifying a new ethical and legal or regulatory framework are recommended.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Medicine to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education::Nursing education