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NRSV 437-Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care - Assignment Example

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Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care Name: Institution: Introduction Healthcare is one of the principal fields largely affected by ethical considerations. Attempting to sustain a patient’s life can present major moral dilemmas for medicine practitioners, especially those dealing directly with the patient, such as doctors and nurses…
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NRSV 437-Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care
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Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care Introduction Healthcare is one of the principal fields largely affected by ethical considerations. Attempting to sustain a patient’s life can present major moral dilemmas for medicine practitioners, especially those dealing directly with the patient, such as doctors and nurses. This explains why it is imperative for nurses to comprehend moral norms and practices governing healthcare, as well as the significance of posing questions, when they do not know how to approach a morally controversial issue. Nurses must have particular knowledge in ethical matters concerning patients’ confidentiality and privacy. For instance, in healthcare there is a law referred to as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which has provisions that seek to safeguard information about patient’s health related information. Nurses should, therefore, be well versed with such laws in order to execute their duties within the confines of the law. An article by Nathanson (2008), "Bioethics on NBC's ER: Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care? When is it ok to Break Confidentiality?" examines ethical concerns in healthcare that pose a conflicting challenge to involved nurses. The article outlines a dilemma experienced by a nurse, Hathaway, who is tasked with the responsibility of examining two teenage girls. The nurse promises the youngsters that she would not convey the results of the screening to their parents, with the aim of encouraging them to undertake the test. However, on getting the medical examination results, Hathaway realizes that one of the teenagers has both Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. She faces a serious moral decision, since she has to choose between keeping the promise she made to her patient and informing relevant parties, in order to guarantee appropriate medical treatment for all individuals involved. Rationale Since the patient is 14 years old, she falls under the minors’ category, implying that her parents must be informed about the medical diagnosis. This is because, as a child, the patient would not be permitted by the law to provide consent for medical intervention. Additionally, the 14 year old would not have the financial capability to pay for the treatment. The other dilemma stems from the fact that, the law does not permit reporting of a person’s infection with HPV. Nevertheless, once the girls openly admit that they engaged in unprotected sex with several partners, it would be possible to notify the school administration and local health board thus mitigating the spread of this disease. Based on this analysis, it is evident that information disclosure is in the best interest of the patient, members of the public, as well as, the school administration and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Ethical Implications for Disclosure Based on provisions outlined in Code of Ethics for Nurses (CEN), the nurse described above is faced with a case of conflict of interest. Nurses should make the decision, as to whether, maintenance of confidentiality would cause more harm than full disclosure. In this case, if Hathaway discloses the patient’s information she risks her privacy, while failure to reveal it is likely to cause harm to the patient, as well as, other members of the public. Even if the nurses’ code of ethics requires them to promote and advocate for the wellbeing, security, and privileges of the patient. Ethical Implications against Disclosure It is evident that the confidentiality laws guard the patient, nurse, as well as, the organization of employment (Nathanson, 2000). Confidentiality breach can make a patient hesitant to get medical attention. Ethical Principles/Theories The utilitarian ethical theory is most appropriate in dealing with the issue above. The utilitarian principles explicitly provide that, an individual should weigh the probable consequences from two choices, and hence draw essential comparison between potential harms and benefits of the exploit adopted. It is then imperative to adopt the action that would have the preeminent outcome for the individuals concerned, like notifying the sex partisans and the school (Nathanson, 2000). The situation can also be viewed under the ethical theory of deontology; when the nurse upholds the moral obligation of notifying the parents, in order to guarantee the most excellent outcome for the patient. Alternative Ethical Framework It would be necessary to involve the school counselor for support. It is also imperative to involve the parents in the counseling session, so as to encourage the girl to share information freely. In case the girl does not give appropriate information to her guardians then Nurse Hathaway can intervene. Additionally, the school is supposed to be notified, in order for them to provide sex education. Another suitable alternative would be to provide the students with a hotline that they could use in raising their concerns about sex related issues at school. Ethics Committee An ethics committee consists of numerous professionals that could provide diverse perspectives, as well as, resources which are not quite perceptible to the nurse. An ethics committee may provide advice on legal concerns and also provide personal support to assist the nurse in making sound judgment, which would be beneficial to all parties involved. Additionally, having a member of the clergy or any other religion practitioner in the committee can assist greatly, with news delivery to the people involved and in providing emotional guidance as well. Conclusion Confidentiality is a highly imperative ethical factor in nursing. However, evident from the discussion, numerous ethical dilemmas always arise from confidentiality and privacy concerns in the nursing field. Therefore, a nurse’s greatest defense against such issues is by being aware of laws governing patients’ privacy and possessing knowledge of critical decision making. One of the best resources that a nurse can use in such a case is the Code of Ethics for Nurses. It is also imperative to possess a decision making model, that can provide appropriate guidance in settling ethical dilemmas. References Nathanson, P. (2000). Betraying trust or providing good care? When is it okay to break confidentiality? Retrieved 14 April 2013, from http://www.bioethics.net/articles.php?viewCat=7&articleId=133 Read More
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