An emergency room nurse is caring for an unidentified, unconscious patient who suffered traumatic injuries in a motor vehicle accident. When making decisions in the best interest of the patient, the nurse is applying which of the following principles?
•Paternalism is the principle applied when health care professionals must decide what is best for the patient and act without consent. Paternalism is only appropriate under certain circumstances, such as the patient's sudden loss of consciousness in an emergency.
•Paternalism may be viewed in contrast to autonomy. Paternalism occurs when a nurse or physician takes it upon themselves to make a decision on behalf of their patient, whereas autonomy respects the patient's right to make their own decisions.