Code Gray: Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing (1984)


In this documentary film, nurses in a variety of care settings confront serious ethical dilemmas which effect their patients. The film’s four sequences involve the ethical principles of beneficence, autonomy, justice and fidelity.

In Case 1, the Primary Nurse and her associates in the nursery face conflicts regarding the proper care of a hydranecephalic newborn. In Case 2, the Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses staffing a rural nursing home must weigh the ethical considerations involved in applying mechanical and chemical restraints against the wishes of their patients. Case 3 takes place in a busy general intensive care unit, where the Charge Nurse and other health team members debate their reasons for choosing to give more or less nursing care to particular patients. In Case 4, a nurse reflects on the difficulties of caring for a dying woman and on the conflict between her loyalties to the patient and the patient’s family. None of the incidents are resolved; viewers are encouraged to debate the issues.

Director: Joan Sawyer.

1985 Academy Awards – Nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary, Short Subjects.


Note: Many thanks to Steve for sending me a copy of this film.

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