The nursing dilemma

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Using a Microsoft Word document, record your responses to the critical thinking questions based on the scenario provided. Each response should be original (in your own words) and a minimum of 2–3 sentences in length.


A military RN is ordered to force-feed a terrorist prisoner while they are undergoing interrogation. The prisoner is on a hunger strike protesting their capture and highlighting his cause. The nurse is to ensure the prisoner remains hydrated and fed so they can provide information and do not starve. The nurse is torn. On the one hand, the nurse has a strong loyalty to the military objective of ensuring public safety by uncovering terrorist plots and fear of reprisal if orders are disobeyed. Yet, the nurse is appalled at overriding a patient’s wishes by force-feeding him.

Male RN in Military Uniform 

Critical Thinking Questions

Is this an ethical dilemma or a moral dilemma?

What ethical principles are in contention? How?

Are there any virtues at risk? Whose? Why?

What justifies overriding an individual’s autonomy to make his own choices?

How does the Code of Ethics guide the nurse in invoking conscientious objection?

What lessons can be learned from this nurse’s dilemma?

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