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Jessica Au '11

Nursing Student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

1) What are you doing now?

Right now I am living in Honolulu, HI. I am a nursing student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Master's Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN).

2) How do issues of ethics and values enter into your professional role?

In the medical field, when dealing with human life, there are many ethics and values issues that are constantly entering my professional role as a nurse. In nursing, some of the professional core values addressed include altruism, autonomy, human dignity, integrity, and social justice. These are the values I must uphold and as a nurse; I am obligated to be patient’s advocate. Thus, when I am in conflict with these values, they create ethical issues. Given the diversity of patients a nurse will encounter, some of the ethical conflicts are most often related to differences in cultural values, belief systems, and view on end of life.

3) What societal ethics issues are most important for us to address and why?

Specifically related to the medical field and nursing, some of the major issues needed to be address are end of life and advance directives. So many times people don’t’ discuss what matters to them, in terms of their wishes and desires should they become really sick. As a young individual, I automatically assume I will tackle this issue a lot later in my life, but life presents unexpected circumstances, and it is necessary to be prepared. It is also a discussion that should be communicated with close ones, such as family members, spouses, etc., so they are able to fulfill one’s wishes.

In addition, the current advances in technology now have the ability to extend a person’s life and allow one to live longer. Therefore, at what point are technology and machines over contributing to human life? Technology, medicine, and human life are rising as societal ethical issues.