Health Care Ethics Reflection

April 19, 2018 Health

Ethical theories and principles help the medical community make moral decisions in difficult situations. However, each person has a different set of morals they abide by, including the varying ethical theories and principles. In this paper, I will discuss what theories I agree and disagree with concerning my moral framework, along with explaining what principles I think are most important. Theories Aligned with Personal Moral Framework I believe Kantian ethics best describes the foundation of my moral framework.

According to Pence (2011), Kantianism is a person’s duty to act morally correct, regardless of the consequences. Unfortunately, I have made decisions based on the outcome of situations in the past. For instance, when I was a child, I lied to my mother about where I road my bike because I did not want to get in trouble. Because of my fear of punishment or making my mother angry, I went against what I knew to be right and lied to her. Here, my emotions ruled over my ethical decision-making skills because of a consequence.

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As I have matured over the years, I have realized that my ethical framework should be the basis of all my actions, not my emotions, which come and go with the wind. If I let my emotions rule over me, then I will have no foundation to stand on, therefore making many poor decisions. Additionally, Pence goes on to say that acting off of what feels right or what is preferred by society goes against Kantianism (2011). I agree with this as well because our society would be a very dark, destructive place if everyone acted off of fleeting ideals instead of their own moral guidelines.

For example, the morals I hold myself to keep me from trying to live up to what the dark part of society thinks is acceptable, such as having sexual relationships with different partners. Furthermore, categorical imperatives are tests used to determine whether an action is reasonably consistent with our moral framework (Bennet-Woods, 2005). This test keeps a person’s moral standards the foundation of the decisions he or she makes while keeping out external influences.

For example, for an action to be ethically sound, it has to be universal in all circumstances. I believe this checks-and-balances system keeps people from acting in ways that contradict their morals. Likewise, by standing on ethical principles and not emotions, order and morality allows us to act as a profitable society. Theories Not Aligned with Personal Moral Framework At first glace, I would go against Utilitarianism. According to Pence (2011), ethical decisions are made when looking at the consequences, not the person’s intentions.

I believe this theory has the potential for many bad outcomes if the intentions or motives are impure. It leaves room for too large of error for me to except this theory as part of my moral framework. For example, if emotions are part of my ethical decision-making for the greater good, then my moral foundation can fluctuate easily and frequently depending on my mood. Here, there is no stability in my moral framework and I can get tossed back a forth by the waves of emotions and outside influences.

Instead, decisions should be made based on morals that are concrete and stand against basic evils such as lying and doing others harm, regardless of the outcomes. However, what I do agree with is the passion for the greater good in the Utilitarianism Theory. During ethical dilemmas, it’s hard to please everyone. However, a decision must be made and choosing the option that produces the greatest good sounds like the best idea. For example, in the hospital setting, I understand with a large number of patients needing emergency care there needs to be some sort of triage system.

Here, Utilitarianism is used to save the most amount of people in a disastrous situation (Pence, 2011). As a healthcare professional in this circumstance, my job is to care for people who would have the best chance to live and not focus on patients being equal to one another. Hopefully, I would not have to endure this type of work environment everyday because my moral framework is more focused on treating each patient like his or her medical care is most important, regardless of his or her health status. Ethical Principles

Though all of the ethical principles are important, fidelity, respect for persons, and nonmaleficence are the most important ethical principles in my moral framework. First, the reason I chose fidelity as one of the top important principles of my ethical foundation is it focuses on being trustworthy, loyal, abiding by healthcare rules and the code of ethics, respecting patients and being able to perform my job correctly (Bennet-Woods, 2005). I believe these aspects are what makes a nurse ethically well-rounded as an employee of an organization, a coworker and a person in healthcare.

Second, the reason I chose respect for persons is it encompasses some of the other principles, such as nonmaleficence, fidelity, beneficence and veracity, which I think are imperative as an effective healthcare professional. By treating each person as if he or she was the most important thing to me, I will not harm or lie to the patient, nor will I act in ways that does not benefit he or she. This principle also relates to the ethical theory of Kantianism, by treating patients as if they all have equal worth (Bennet-Woods, 2005).

Third, the reason I chose nonmaleficence as an important principle is it states not to harm or even risk harming others (Bennet-Woods, 2005). I believe as a healthcare professional, my duty is to care for patients, not to harm them. Thus, this principle is crucial to perform my job accurately and safely. Furthermore, I would prioritize these three principles when they are in conflict by placing fidelity at the top because it focuses on loyalty, respect for persons, following the rules of the organization and the code of ethics, and performing my job safely as a nurse.

In my opinion, it covers most ethical principles, which is beneficial when trying to solve a moral dilemma. Next, I would place respect for persons second on the list because I believe one of my top priorities is how the patient is being treated. If the rules and laws were being followed, then my next concern would be how the patient was being respected as a person. Last, but not least, I would place nonmaleficence as number three on my priority list because if I was respecting a patient, then I most likely would not be harming them or breaking aspects of fidelity.

However, nonmaleficence is important because it continues to keep healthcare professionals in check concerning harming a patient when making an ethical decision. However, under certain circumstances I might violate the ethical principle of fidelity if the patient wanted me to end their life with medication after I told them I would do whatever I could to help them. If their interpretation of me helping them included ending their life because of the pain he or she were suffering from, then I would have to break my agreement I made.

Not only is it against the Nursing Code of Ethics, which instructs healthcare workers to not hasten death, but it is also against nonmaleficence (American Nurses Association, 2010). Conclusion Therefore, I base my moral framework off of the Kantian Theory and am guided mostly by the ethical principles of fidelity, respect for persons and nonmaleficence. Though my moral foundation may differ from others, I hope as healthcare professionals we would all have the patient’s best interests in mind. Our first duty is to provide the best care for the patient, which we can all agree upon in the medical field.


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