What's an intactivist nurse to do?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2005
What's an intactivist nurse to do?
13
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 9:55am

I am in nursing school.  I won't have to face this issue until next spring.  Naturally, the type A person that I am, I have been obsessing about it for over a year :)


I have been wrestling with the ethical delima: can I assist with a circumcision with my deeply and longly held intactivist views?  The obvious, first response is no way!  Let's try to get past the immediate, emotional response of "no way in he##" and answer the question of whether a nurse can ethically refuse to provide "care" for a child whose parent has decided to circ him.


Digging deeper, I feel that I could do the client education, care for the child before and after, but I do not think I could assist with the procedure itself.  My internal debate goes from the NO WAY, to the "should I be there for the baby as the only person interested in his human rights, and comfort him the best way I could."  But then I go to the fact that if I were in a coutnry that circ's it's girls, there would be zero chance I would be there in that circumstance.  So then I think: what if it were another issue, like abortion.  I am personally pro life, but I think I would be able to care for a client during a the procedure as long as the fetus was not viable.  So, it's not a matter of not being able to look past my own personal beliefs.  Then I think about the ethical problems associated with medical workers picking and choosing which procedures they will and won't participate in.  I think circ is different because it is not the child choosing the procedure.  However, naturally, the areas of work I am interested in include NICU and PICU (circ shouldn't be much of an issue in the latter at least).


I, thankfully, go to a wonderful school with wonderful professors.  I believe with 100% certainty that I could have a professional conversation with my clinical instructor about not assisting with circ's.  My question is - is this truly the ethical thing to do?


I would love to hear the viewpoints and arguments from all sides, as long as it isn't just "no way."  I need help working through the deeper layers of the issue - so I can resolve it in my mind.  Again, I, of course, feel that there is no way I could do it.  But, before I open that can of worms with the school (or a future employer) I need to have allt he above issues worked out and answered.


So, can you guys help me with this thinking process???

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"Belief is not required.  Once you know this story, you'll hear it everywhere in your culture, and you'll be astonished that the people around you don't hear it as well but merely take it in."  Daniel Quinn, Ishmael


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"Belief is not required.  Once you know this story

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2009
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 2:20pm

<I would love to hear the viewpoints and arguments from all sides, as long as it isn't just "no way." I need help working through the deeper layers of the issue - so I can resolve it in my mind. Again, I, of course, feel that there is no way I could do it. But, before I open that can of worms with the school (or a future employer) I need to have allt he above issues worked out and answered.
So, can you guys help me with this thinking process???>>

Just say your beliefs in the inefficacy of circ are upheld by every medical association in the world, and that since there is no medical need for it, and the Canadian Pediatric Association actually told it's members that they will NOT defend them in the event of the circing doctor being sued by the victim when he turns 18, all combine to not allow you to take part in this procedure. They can't argue the facts really.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-16-2008
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 6:06pm

Aren't you allowed to object without jeopardizing your schooling or your job?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2005
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 7:13pm

Yes, I absolutely have the right to not participate.

KristiHannahPiperJackson1.jpg picture by itsirkmr


"Belief is not required.  Once you know this story

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2005
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 7:14pm
BTW, that's awesome you had such a great nurse!

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"Belief is not required.  Once you know this story

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2008
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 8:54pm

Kristi this is indeed an interesting problem, and I've seen this question debated on other boards. ;)

I understand the dilemma I'll start off by saying that I hate when Drs say, I don't like to do them but I may as well, just to do it right. So I know the child is done comfortably or correctly. I want to say then don't do it.

If it were me, I would not participate in any aspect of the situation. No setup, no tear down, no after care nothing. I would be happy to do education activities as to why not to do it but that's it. I understand why some would believe that shirks responsibilities to care for the individual. But I think that the "Do no harm" take precedence. And with no medical need, I wouldn't participate.

Now if there was an emergency during the procedure that they chose to impose anyway then I would probably assist but that's it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2005
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 9:29pm

What you have said is exactly what my gut tells me is right.

KristiHannahPiperJackson1.jpg picture by itsirkmr


"Belief is not required.  Once you know this story

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-16-2008
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 10:38pm

I was asked by my OB, on admitting and going over my own pre-op, and my c/s nurse explained if he were to be circ'ed she would be there as she was the surgical nurse on duty. Everyone took my no as a final answer, just as they took "no bottles or pacifiers" as a firm answer. I was very lucky, my nurses were awesome. RNs every one, the hospital doesn't even employ LPNs on L&D.

Now my first c/s, different hospital totally opposite experience. ::shudder::

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2009
Tue, 02-23-2010 - 12:22am

Kristi, speaking to your instructor on the subject is not only ethical but very important. He or she will, hopefully, put personal bias aside and discuss your concerns as a neutral - with objective comments.


But I do believe you may be best advised to attend a circumcision, but not assist. Surely that is allowed? My eldest daughter was required to attend the circumcision of a 7/8 year old boy as a student nurse. Some of her fellow students cried, unable to watch when the first incision was made... and ran out of the theatre. Vanessa stayed to the end - and came to me the following day saying it was the most horrible thing she ever had to watch. Are American students expected to assist?


My daughter, now a Ward Sister,


CL - Circumcision Debate


"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2009
Tue, 02-23-2010 - 4:57am

I was wondering if you know

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2005
Tue, 02-23-2010 - 3:12pm
It is the only procedure nursing students are routinely required to assist with that I object to assisting with.

KristiHannahPiperJackson1.jpg picture by itsirkmr


"Belief is not required.

KristiHannahPiperJackson1.jpg picture by itsirkmr


"Belief is not required.  Once you know this story

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