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What is Paternalism in Nursing?
Paternalism can be defined as the interference of a state or an individual with another person, against their will, and defended or motivated by a claim that the person interfered with will be better off or protected from harm. In short, paternalism in nursing refers to interfering with a patient’s freedom for his or her own good.
Examples of Paternalism in Healthcare.
The following are examples of paternalism in nursing and healthcare:
- In a healthcare context “paternalism” occurs when a physician or other healthcare professional makes decisions for a patient without the explicit consent of the patient. The physician believes the decisions are in the patient’s best interests.
- When the nurse fails to inform the patient of the true diagnosis.
- When the nurse does not disclose to the patient other available, acceptable treatment options and their risks.
Types of Paternalism in Nursing.
There are several types of paternalism in nursing. Some of these levels of paternalism are namely:
- Hard and soft paternalism.
- Broad and narrow paternalism.
- Weak and strong paternalism.
- Pure and impure paternalism.
- Moral and welfare paternalism.
Hard and soft paternalism.
Soft paternalism holds that the only time state paternalism is permissible is when it is required to establish if the person being interfered with is behaving willingly and knowingly. On the other hand, hard paternalism does not permit the person being interfered with to make a decision even if he is behaving willingly and knowingly.
Broad and narrow paternalism.
A narrow paternalist is only interested in governmental coercion, or the use of authorized compulsion. A broad paternalist, on the other hand, is concerned in any paternalistic conduct, whether it is stated, institutional (hospital policy), or individual.
Weak and strong paternalism.
A weak paternalist thinks that it is OK to intervene with the techniques that agents use to attain their goals if such methods are likely to fail whereas a strong paternalist thinks that individuals might have erroneous, confused, or illogical goals and that it is permissible to intervene to prevent them from reaching those goals. For example, if one is a weak but not a strong paternalist, we can only intervene with errors in facts, not with errors in values. So, if someone tries to leap out of a window, assuming he would glide gently to the earth, we may be able to detain him. We may not survive if he leaps because he feels it is vital to be spontaneous.
Pure and impure paternalism.
In pure paternalism, the class being protected is the same as the class being interfered with. In the event of impure paternalism, the class of those harmed outnumbers the class is protected.
An example of impure paternalism is protecting smokers by preventing manufacturers from making cigarettes. For pure paternalism, a good example is when swimmers are prevented from swimming when lifeguards are not nearby.
Moral and welfare paternalism.
Moral paternalism refers to the interference of a state or an individual with another person, against their will in order to protect the moral well-being of the person. A good example of moral paternalism is preventing prostitutes from selling their sexual services. This protects their moral well-being and their health from sexually transmitted diseases.
5 Benefits of Paternalism in Nursing Care.
Although paternalism involves violating the freedom or will of another person, it has its benefits. The following are some of the benefits of paternalism in nursing care:
- Paternalism may be used to help some people to make better choices about how they will lead their lives.
- Paternalism helps to promote and protect the well-being of others.
- In nursing, paternalism enables the nurse and other healthcare workers to make the best decisions that promote the patient’s well-being.
- The paternalism that involves restricting the selling of drugs or other harmful substances helps to improve population health and public health.
- It assists nurses in making judgments about care challenges by offering balanced information tailored to each patient without imposing forced decisions. This helped to foster a culture of respect for patients, in which the nurse maintains their dignity, privacy, and decision-making power.