Ethical dilemma forms an integral part of nursing practice. Fundamentally, individuals who practice nursing will often encounter decision-making problems between two possible moral imperatives, neither of which we decidedly accepted or preferred. Ideally, such complexities occur as a result of the situational conflict in which the move to obey one would result in the transgression of another. While it is evident that nurses may experience these circumstances, the Christian nurses may substantially find it difficult to make their decisions in regard their experiences. The nutrition and consumption of the Genetically Modified Foods (GM foods) are one of the things that pose the greater ethical dilemma to nurses, especially those of Christian faith. This paper, therefore, provides an exposition of the ethical concern associated with the consumption of GM foods as well as the impact of my nursing practice as a Christian nurse.
Genetically Modified Food
Nurses are responsible for providing quality care to a wide variety of patients (Brunk, & Coward, 2009). As a Christian nurse who applies the Christian principles to my nursing practice, my aim is to respectfully understand the cultures while practicing their faith and praying for others. Besides, my roles require me to play crucial roles in offering patients with the nutritional advice regarding their nutritional requirements. While this is so, a substantial ethical dilemma exists primarily about my personal need for consuming the GM foods, as well as advising my patients to drink them. The process of producing the genetically modified organisms involves the placement of the genetic DNA from one organism into another. The proponents of this practice assert that people are now able to produce food with greater nutritional value, better appearance, taste, longer shelf life, and smell. However, the negative effects of such practice include harm to other organisms and cross contamination.
As a nursing profession, I am required to provide the best and high-quality care to my patients, such as consuming foods that provide them with the right amount of nutrition about their nutritional requirements. However, I may also find it difficult to do so based on the fact that the practice is not allowed biblically. The Bible does not say anything specifically about the GM food but instead address the role humans are to play in caring for the earth. Genesis 1:26-30 mentions that God created Adam and Eve and later instructed them to multiply and fill the earth (Cited in Flaman, 2002). The transfer of the genetic materials from one organism to another with the aim of improving its desirable qualities and improving its nutritional value is explicitly against the Bible, and may also act as a way of competing with God regarding creation (Brunk, & Coward, 2009). This idea may profoundly impact on my nurse practice, as it may be a difficult task to make the moral decision about whether advice and give the patient GM food with high nutritional value, or not, so as to care for Gods creation and the whole earth.
In Leviticus 19:19, God instructs the humanity to keep His statutes. In this way, the man is advised not to let his cattle breed with a different kind, nor sow his field with two different kinds of seeds (Cited in Flaman, 2002). This verse further prohibits the wearing of garments made of two kinds of materials. 1st Timothy 4:4 further asserts that for everything that God created is good and nothing should be rejected, but received with thanksgiving (Tubbs, 2013). From these scriptures, it is undeniable that genetic engineering and manipulation of the body of another creature is prohibited in the Bible and should not be embraced by humans. As a nursing practitioner, I may encounter ethical dilemma between upholding the Christianity principles of caring about the earth, while at the same time trying to fulfill my professional obligation for caring about the needs of the patients. Various researchers have associated the GM foods with the development of several health risks such as cancer (Brunk, & Coward, 2009). An ethical dilemma, therefore, exists between recommending them to patients and avoiding the GMOs so as to obey Gods laws as written in the Bible.
This essay has offered an exposition of the ethical concern associated with the consumption of GM foods as well as its impacts on the Christian nurse. Through the Bible, God instructs the man not to interfere with the body of another organism, but to protect it. In the same way, the transfer of the genetic materials from one organism to another with the aim of improving its desirable qualities is against the Bible. Christian nurse, therefore, encounters ethical dilemma between consuming and recommending such foods and protecting the earth and Gods creation.
Brunk, C. G., & Coward, H. G. (2009). Acceptable genes?: Religious traditions and genetically modified foods. Albany, N.Y: SUNY Press.
Flaman, P. (2002). Genetic engineering: Christian values and Catholic teaching. New York: Paulist Press.
Tubbs, J. B. (2013). Christian Theology and Medical Ethics: Four Contemporary Approaches. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
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