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Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice - Essay Example

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` Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice Customer Inserts His/Her Name University Name Introduction It is a fact that every nurse, regardless of his or her specialty, come across various ethical challenges. These challenges bring them in a situation in which they find it difficult to make an appropriate decision…
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Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice
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` Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice Inserts His/Her Introduction It is a fact that every nurse, regardless of his or her specialty, come across various ethical challenges. These challenges bring them in a situation in which they find it difficult to make an appropriate decision. Similarly, in one of the episodes of ER a girl named Andrea trusted a nurse that was caring for her and after requesting that the information should remain confidential, the nurse disclosed that she had been sexually active. Later, it was diagnosed that she had cervical cancer and needed immediate treatment which obviously required parental consent. Nurse Carol Hathaway came into a situation in which she either had to remain to her promise and allow Andrea to go without any further treatment or break the confidentiality and inform the parents. Implications of Breach of Confidentiality The purpose of confidentiality between a patient and health care provider is to gain trust and provide the patient with privacy regarding medical issues and assure him or her that all the matters between them will remain confidential. When the private information is disclosed by the health care provider to anyone else without informing the patient then this is regarded as breach of confidentiality which is absolutely wrong morally, ethically and legally (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2008). The implications of breach of confidentiality are a lack of trust between the patient and healthcare provider due to which the patients avoid sharing vital information about their health issues and thereby may not receive proper treatment. However, there are certain exceptions in which it becomes obligatory for the physicians to report certain infectious diseases to public health authorities in order to protect the community from it. Ethical Principles to Substantiate Our Position While approaching towards ethical decisions the nurse must act as an advocate for the patient. Advocacy is an essential aspect of nursing and is viewed as one of the most important components of nursing (Hanks, 2008). As far as Nurse Hathaway was concerned, she believed that in order for the patient to receive medical care it is important that the parents should be involved. This may be an appropriate action so that the patient would receive adequate care but when Hathaway informed the school and gave the name of the patient; she undoubtedly crossed an ethical boundary. When Andrea came to know about this she became distraught and suicidal. According to ethical point of view, this may be justified if a positive outcome is achieved. There are certain times in which the overall consequences would be fruitful for the concerned people, even though the rights of some individuals are dishonored. It would have been more sensible if the school was informed about the “sex parties” without identifying Andrea. This is what breach of patient confidentiality is and it is surely against all the ethical principles. Therefore, it is important that an ethical framework should be placed that would guide the nurses to provide ethical care to the patients which would result in positive outcome. Some of the ethical principles are listed below: Encourage acts of mercy and kindness that would benefit the patient. Avoid any kind of harm that may occur during the execution of beneficial acts. Veracity is the combination of trust and truth that transforms into respect. Alternative Approach to Address the Dilemma Virtue ethics would be a perfect alternative approach in such situations. It sustains the compassion, trustworthiness and integrity (Wright, 1999). Moreover, virtue ethics has the capacity to understand the feeling of the patient, provide moral support and also promotes trust. This would provide Andrea with an emotional support and help to develop the strength to inform her parents about the disease. I believe that a supportive guidance from the nurse would have resulted in a better chance of succeeding and with the coordination of the parents a positive outcome would have been achieved. The attending healthcare provider can educate the patient about the disease. A social worker could also be consulted that would support to create an interaction between the patient and the family. Role of Ethics Committee Under such situation the ethics committee could also play an important role. The members of the ethics committee have expertise in clinical ethics and are involved in creating awareness among the patients about the revising policies that relate to medical ethics. The main purpose of these committees is to encourage the rights of the patient and develop procedures in order to achieve the best patient outcome. They also act as effective mediators for the patient and healthcare providers and make sure that appropriate decisions are made regarding patients health concerns. Conclusion Being a nurse advocate can be a challenging task but it is counted as one of the important components in a patient’s ethical care. Skilled nurse advocates make sure that the patient receives adequate health care and that no adverse outcomes are obtained. Patient confidentiality is the right of every individual and should not be avoided no matter what. It promotes trust. And any breach in confidentiality results in mistrust between the patient and healthcare provider and could produce disastrous outcome. References Burkhardt, M. A., & Nathaniel, A. K. (2008). Ethics & issues in contemporary nursing. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar. Wright, D. (1999). Guidance on ethics for occupational physicians. FOM, 29: 133-137. Hanks, R. G. (2008). The lived experience of nursing advocacy. Nursing ethics, 15(4), 468 - 477. Read More
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