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Jessica Au '11

Part-time nurse, 'IKE Outreach Specialist, and a Pre-Engineering Education Collaborative

1) What are you doing now?

I most recently received my nursing license in November 2014 from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Master's Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN), and completed my Bachelors of Science in Nursing this past May. I work for a private practice physician part time. In addition, I am a 'IKE Outreach Specialist (Indigenous Knowledge in Engineering), a Pre-Engineering Education Collaborative specifically for Native Hawaiians and underrepresented groups in the community colleges.

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. There are various encounters with ethical dilemmas, specifically surrounding end of life care, the health care reform, and patient rights. The solution to these dilemmas often involve different disciplines and requires organized communication to ensure the safety and rights of one.

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.

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

Prindle gave me a continual interest in various issues in my community, country, and the world. It provided me with the confidence to have conversations with individuals on ethical issues and to allow myself to stay updated and keep searching new learning opportunities.