Nurse’s Bias Impact on Care




A child was brought into the office for hallucinations and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The physician prescribed psychiatric medications as part of the treatment plan. The parents are members of the Church of Scientology and declined psychiatric medications based on their beliefs.


Initial Post

In your initial post address the following prompts and/or questions.

  • Explain how a nurse’s bias could impact the care of this client.
  • Discuss the ethical issues that exist in this scenario.
  • Explain how the treatment plan could be modified to include culturally and spiritually appropriate care for this client.

nurse's bias  impact on care

Initial Post

Nurse’s Bias Impact on Care

A nurse’s bias could significantly impact the care of a child diagnosed with schizophrenia whose parents are members of the Church of Scientology and have declined psychiatric medications. If the nurse holds biases against alternative belief systems or Scientology specifically, this could manifest as judgmental behavior, lack of empathy, or inadequate communication. Such biases might lead to diminished trust between the nurse and the family, reducing the likelihood of the family adhering to any treatment plan proposed by the healthcare team. Moreover, the nurse might fail to explore or respect the parents’ concerns, resulting in a one-sided approach that does not consider the family’s cultural and spiritual values.

Ethical Issues

Several ethical issues arise in this scenario:

  1. Autonomy: Respecting the parents’ right to make informed decisions about their child’s healthcare based on their religious beliefs.
  2. Beneficence and Nonmaleficence: Ensuring that the treatment plan benefits the child and does not cause harm. This can be challenging when parents refuse conventional treatment that is medically indicated.
  3. Cultural Competence: Providing care that respects and is tailored to the family’s cultural and spiritual beliefs, which is a cornerstone of ethical practice in nursing.
  4. Best Interest of the Child: Balancing the ethical duty to act in the best interest of the child with the parents’ rights to refuse treatment. The healthcare team must navigate this delicate balance to ensure the child’s well-being without disrespecting the parents’ beliefs.

Modifying the Treatment Plan

To create a culturally and spiritually appropriate treatment plan, the following steps could be taken:

  1. Open Communication: Engage in a non-judgmental, open dialogue with the parents to understand their beliefs and concerns about psychiatric medications. This involves active listening and validating their perspectives.
  2. Education: Provide education about schizophrenia, including the potential benefits and risks of various treatment options, in a manner that is respectful of the parents’ beliefs. This may involve discussing alternative treatments that align more closely with their views.
  3. Incorporate Alternative Therapies: Explore and include non-pharmacological interventions that may be acceptable to the parents, such as psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, and social support interventions. Highlight the importance of these therapies in managing schizophrenia.
  4. Spiritual Support: Incorporate spiritual care by collaborating with spiritual advisors or leaders from the Church of Scientology, if the parents consent. This can help in creating a holistic treatment plan that respects their spiritual needs.
  5. Regular Monitoring: Implement a plan for regular monitoring and follow-up to assess the child’s condition and treatment effectiveness. This ensures that any worsening symptoms can be addressed promptly and appropriately.
  6. Interdisciplinary Approach: Utilize an interdisciplinary team, including mental health professionals, social workers, and spiritual care providers, to offer comprehensive support to the child and family.

By integrating these culturally and spiritually sensitive strategies, the treatment plan can be more acceptable to the family while still addressing the child’s mental health needs effectively.

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