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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Research Paper on Risks of HIV Infection among Nurses

Research Paper on Risks of HIV Infection among Nurses

Health care workers, because of the nature of their profession, face health hazards every working day, they are highly susceptible to contract diseases from their environment at work and from their clients as well. Nurses are a part of such group at risk and one of the infections that they are wary about is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). According to the fact sheets HIV/AIDS for Nurses and Midwives by the World Health Organization, HIV is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV infection affects the immune system. It infects, and eventually destroys, special cells in the immune system called lymphocytes and monocytes. The continuous killing of such special cells result in the persistent, progressive and profound impairment of the immune system which makes an individual susceptible to infections and conditions such as cancer. 

In the clinical setting, transmission of HIV from patient to nurse is usually associated to needle stick injuries such accidental injection of the patient’s infected blood to the nurse. In a study involving 83 paramedics in England, it was found that there was 20% underreporting of needle stick injuries.  Moreover, in a study conducted among nurses in South Africa, it was found that there were nurses which are not provided with the right set of equipment that will protect them against the risk of HIV infection.

To ensure the safety of nurses, several guidelines are imposed by hospitals and the most basic and practical of those policies are summarized as follows:

  1.  The universal precaution in handling blood and body fluids should be observed which includes the use of protective equipment such as the donning of gloves, aprons, gowns or wearing of goggles to protect the eyes from blood splashes. 
  2.  When used needles are left lying around, accidental pricking is more likely to occur and so sharps should be disposed of properly. There are puncture resistant containers provided especially for sharps. 
  3. Adopting accident prevention measures in performing procedures.
  4.  Proper sterilization of equipment and having appropriate disinfectants available.

The guidelines aforementioned decrease the risk of HIV exposure but when an exposure has already occurred, first aid should be given to the nurse immediately. When it’s a needle stick injury, bleeding by pressing around the site of injury is encouraged. If the exposure is mucocutaneous (through non-intact skin or mucous membranes), the affected area should be washed with soap and water thoroughly. For the eyes, irrigation is recommended right away. Additional measures should then be implemented after first aid is given. 
Accidents may happen to nurses in the care of their patients. Accidents that may lead to HIV infection; one of the occupational hazards nurses have to face. But when guidelines are internalized and there is constant presence of mind in handling HIV patients and their infected fluids, the risk of infection significantly decreases.  

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Essay on Medical Marijuana

Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.), a kind of herb, is a member of the Cannabaceae or hemp family. It is also known as Indian hemp since it is said to have originated in India specifically in regions north of the Himalayan Mountains. Marijuana has been cultivated by our ancestors for thousands of years because of its medicinal value. However, the use of marijuana has become controversial because of its psychoactive effect thereby leading to restrictions on its use in many regions of the world. Starting in the early 90’s, Cannabis use became criminalized in some parts of the United States. Later on, cultivation and farming was also prohibited. Marijuana was then categorized as an illegal narcotic in line with heroin, cocaine and morphine and gained a notorious reputation ever since. But recent movements have surfaced seeking approval of marijuana use in the medical set-up. In the write-up Medical Cannabis, health practitioners, who support such cause, refer to the parts of the herb used as a physician-recommended form of medicine or herbal therapy as medical Marijuana. Synthetic forms of specific cannabinoids are also considered as medical Marijuana.

Modern research, as written in Marijuana-Medical Use, suggests that Cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. It may be used as a pain reliever specifically in neuropathic pain which is a result of nerve damage. Marijuana may also relieve nausea and vomiting, spasticity, glaucoma (by lowering intraocular eye pressure) and movement disorders. Furthermore, in the article Marijuana-Medical Use, it was found that Marijuana use positively influences appetite among patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may even protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuroprotective.

Despite the health benefits attributed to Marijuana, its utilization remains a sensitive issue in the practice of medicine. The safety of its use is still being questioned and has not been FDA approved. Only a number of governments allow use of one or more specific low doses of synthetic cannabinoids in the treatment of some disorders. It remains illegal in most countries. Opponents of medical Marijuana argue that the herb is too dangerous to use especially because of its high addictive potential and that various alternatives are available in the market which makes usage of medical Marijuana unnecessary.

The Morality of Abortion

The Morality of Abortion       

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. It involves the removal of the fetus from the woman’s womb before it is viable for life outside the womb. Abortion may be spontaneous, in such case, it was unintentional and would be referred more as a miscarriage. The term abortion more popularly denotes induced or intentional abortion. Such wilful act of ending a pregnancy has always been a sensitive issue and it remains very relevant up to date. The act of abortion involves a moral dilemma and so it is but natural that major religions of the world have a standpoint on this ethical issue. Religious concern on abortion was well phrased in the article Religion and Abortion: religions have taken strong positions on abortion, with the belief that such matter encompasses profound issues of life and death, right and wrong, human relationships and the nature of society. With such conviction established, abortion does not only affect women, couples and healthcare providers but the members of a religious congregation as well.

To say that all religions are absolutely against abortion would be a fallacy. The religious view on abortion is multifaceted and varied among different religions. For a picture of what religions think of abortion, let us cite a few examples. According to the article Religious views on abortion, the Catholic Church opposes abortion because it believes that life is sacred and inviolable. Among orthodox churches, abortion is forbidden since it is seen as going against the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill'. Many Protestant and Evangelical Christians are also against abortion although there are some denominations that accept abortion such as when a baby is suffering from a serious disability. In Islam, Abortion on any grounds is forbidden in the Islamic holy book Al'Quran. Abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, but there are cases where there can be an exception such as when the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent.

Although most religions oppose abortion, they have a common theme wherein it may be permitted, such as when it is still early in the pregnancy, the fetus is not compatible with life and when the life or health of the mother is at stake. It is almost always discouraged and considered only as a last recourse or when done for unselfish reasons or when it is the lesser evil in a given circumstance.

When a woman or a couple is in the process of deciding whether to have an abortion or not, they may undergo reflective thinking, digging into one’s principles and beliefs. Beliefs that have been inculcated in them by the faith they grew up in or by the religion that they chose. One way or another, religion will have an impact on their decision but ultimately, it is in their hands whether to keep the pregnancy or end it


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The Ethics of Suicide

The Ethics of Suicide

In the United States, suicide is listed by the National Institute of Mental Health as the eleventh most common cause of death. Suicide is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with an intent to die as a result of the behavior. CDC further considered suicide as a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effect not only on individuals but to families and communities as well.

As one of the front liners in the provision of health care, nurses encounter patients who have attempted suicide and are called as suicide survivors, as well as clients who want to discuss about ending their life in their own terms. In dealing with such clients, nurses are guided by the professional code of ethics which is founded on the following four principles:


This refers to respect for the patient’s right to self-determination. Based on this principle, bioethics has drafted responsibilities that nurses have to fulfil namely: respect for person which sanctifies choice, disclosure which entails telling the truth and giving all the facts, confidentiality which maintains privacy and fidelity wherein nurses are expected to be faithful to their patients. In the case of suicide, nurses have to know how to apply autonomy in dealing with their patients. Since a suicidal client is psychologically debilitated, he/she can’t really decide properly and when allowed to determine his/her fate, it might end up in suicide. Respect for the patient is better applied by recognizing his/her vulnerability. In terms of maintaining privacy, there are some circumstances when a breach of confidentiality may be allowed like when the patient becomes a threat to himself/herself or to others.


It is to do the greatest good possible. Nurses should act with the best interest of the client in mind. In dealing with a suicide survivor or a suicidal patient, nurses are expected to give the proper nursing interventions targeting their specific needs.


This principle means to do no harm. Nurses do all that they can, within the scope of their profession to safeguard the patient’s life even when it means protecting the patient from himself/herself.


Justice is the provision of fair and equal access to care. Whatever the background, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, ideals of the patient is, appropriate and reasonable care should be provided. A suicidal patient or a suicide survivor needs to be cared for comprehensively and compassionately. They need the support of the people around them which includes their healthcare providers especially the nurses, the ones who are frequently in contact with them.

Suicide is a serious matter which needs immediate attention and intervention. Nurses aim to provide the needed care to patients who are in a state of hopelessness to help them get back to a state of wellness. Their declaration of opting for suicide is a cry for help and guidance which nurses address in line with the code of ethics of nurses.


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