Ethical Decisions and the Influence of Culture
Nurses and Doctors must face many ethical decisions in their daily routine. It is important that we know our ethical responsibilities while caring for our patients. There are many ethical theories we utilize daily, I will be discussing these theories and provide an example of each. These theories include Deontology, Utilitarianism, Naturalism and Virtue ethics. I will go onto discuss confidentiality and how it pertains to reasonable limits. Finally I will be discussing a case in which cultural values relate to and influence healthcare. This case describes Mrs. Z, who just moved to the United States two years ago with her family, who ...view middle of the document...
An example of Utilitarianism is subjects being tested in a drug research project. The subject may get the placebo or the medication being studied; if they do not receive the medication they will not get better. If it were not for the patient receiving the placebo we would not be able to see if the medication works for the rest of the population. The good of
the people out weigh the one test subject. Dr. F will try to encourage Mrs. Z. to do the treatment because the action of getting treatment will be judged as doing “good”.
Naturalism is defined as, “A view of moral judgment that regards ethics as dependent upon human nature and psychology.” (Burkhardt, 2008) This simply means that all societies have similar beliefs, such as “not killing your own”. In medicine an example is we will always help the needy or sick or a doctor performing pro-bono cases to help a patient who has no money or insurance. There is sympathy in that decision and you would hope someone would do the same for you. Dr. F. will find it “morally correct” to ensure all is being done for Mrs. Z. because it is a doctor’s oath to do no harm.
Virtue ethics is defined as, “A theory of ethics that represents the idea that an individual’s ethics are based upon innate moral virtue.” (Burkhardt, 2008) Virtue ethics emphasizes the character of the individual rather than the consequences of the action. An example would be a nurse washing her hands before entering a patient’s room. She wants to wash her hands because it is morally right to do so, not because of the consequence of passing a “bug” to the patient. If Dr. Z was a religious person she would want to do everything to make sure that Mrs. Z does what it right.
Confidentiality is a common ethical principle that nurse and doctors encounter daily. “Confidential information is commonly said to be secret information that is disclosed or entrusted on the understanding that it will not be divulged to a third party.” (Cain, 1998) In daily practice we read information that is confidential to our patients. We are under the code of professional conduct not to discuss these matters with anyone who is not involved with the patient’s care. It is wrong to breach the confidentiality when discussing a patient with your family members or nurses who are not involved in the case. Confidentiality is taken very seriously by healthcare governing agencies. HIPPA has many laws regarding this practice and patient privacy. Anyone caught reading an electronic record of someone who is not their patient can be terminated. A patient may be reluctant to visit the doctor or any healthcare professional if the breach was violated. As a caring profession we want to do what is right by the patient and scaring them off from seeing a doctor in the future is a violation of our practice.
Confidentiality does have some grey areas where we can look at each scenario and decide from that scenario if we should uphold confidentiality. Holmes goes...