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Lauren Lefebvre ‘09

Nurse

1) What are you doing now?

Graduated from Georgetown Nursing School on May 15th, and am currently interviewing for Emergency Department Nursing positions in the DC/Bethesda area.

2) What sorts of ethical dilemmas have you encountered, or sought to resolve, in your career or studies?

Where do I begin? :) I'll be happy to write any of these up in a more eloquent way if it would ever be helpful.

The treatment of the mentally ill is woefully underfunded and is filled with doctors and nurses who enter that field as a last resort. People in desperate need of treatment almost never get the help that they need and are shuffled from institution to ER to the streets and back again.

Repeated need for organ transfers in children. Georgetown Hospital specializes in pediatric transplants, but I saw many children who were 10 or younger and on their 3rd transplant that was failing again. When do we, as clinicians, have to have a real talk with parents about the reality of their child's situation, and when, if ever, do we need to cut people off from repeated transfers that are most likely going to fail?

Medicating people against their will, especially in psych or the ER. Clinicians say "We're giving you Geodon and Haldol". The patient says "I don't want the Haldol." We say "OK" then give them both medications anyway. There are real arguments to be made on both sides of this issue, but it does clearly violate the patient's autonomy.

Nurses in America are allowed to verbally and physically assaulted without consequence. In other countries, the patient will be removed from the hospital (unless in dire need of care) and told they can't return. In this way, our hospitals treat patients better than other places that we think of as having better healthcare. But what effect does this have on staff and should it ever be tolerated?

Similarly, the emphasis on "Patient Satisfaction" for deciding pay and upgrades to a hospital. This current system is horrific and ultimately hurts employees, providers and patients by turning the hospital into a hotel.

More situated towards the business world, in my old job I was in charge of selling a product and promoting it with certain benefits that I absolutely knew we didn't offer. I was told that it didn't matter if membership in our organization didn't really offer those benefits, I was still supposed to tell potential members about them.  

3) Did your experience as a Prindle Intern influence your career choice, graduate studies, travels, etc.?

Ethics at DePauw was always a strong interest of mine. I'm still involved with Ethics Bowl in DC and I hope to someday go on and get a Masters in Clinical Ethics and serve on a hospital ethics committee. However, I learned pretty quickly that ethics wasn't going to get me a real job and knew I had to get some further education in a field outside of philosophy or ethics to actually get paid.

 

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