Moral Dilemmas in Healthcare
Professionals in healthcare are members of a broader team of health professionals. Each professional has different responsibilities of ensuring delivery of the best services to their clients. This is through upholding the healthcare standards. The professional code of ethics at the workplace are put in place to help professionals with their decision-making, and ensuring that the decisions they make serve the interests of the healthcare institution. Therefore, when a healthcare professional passes an important decision in a difficult situation, this must be in line with healthcare standards and not personal convictions.
However, in the course of one’s career in healthcare, they may be presented with moral dilemmas, as a conflict between personal values, philosophies, and professional responsibility. For instance, one may be required to provide a healthcare service that is legal, though wrong according to their personal values. In such a situation, one should ensure a balance between their professional responsibility in the situation, as well as their values. Since the practice is legal, failure to perform it may be termed as violation of healthcare standards. Likewise, performing it may lead to a guilty conscience as one will have acted against their values. The patient involved has their rights of choice and preference. Therefore, the best approach is to talk down the patient, informing them about one’s personal convictions on the process. The ball will now be in the patient’s court. If they make a decision for the procedure to be performed, the professional has no right to decline, since the patient is okay with it, and still, it is a legal procedure. The fact that the professional does not own the healthcare facility compels them to abide by the facility’s laws and standards (Funnell, Koutoukidis and Lawrence 33-34).
On the other hand, if one is opposed to a certain practice in healthcare, such as birth control, then they are free to practice their convictions if at all they are working in their own healthcare facilities. When one owns their own pharmacy, they are free to act according to their values, as these are always the basis of their institution’s standards. However, one may be responsible for explaining to clients why the service is unavailable. If the client is not convicted, one will still need to direct them to where they can get the service. These scenarios show that one should avoid one-sidedness; instead, balance their values, with those of other people, and their work ethics.
Funnell, Rita, Koutoukidis, Gabby and Lawrence, Karen. “Tabbner’s Nursing Care: Theory and
Practice.” Sidney: Elsevier Australia, 2008. Print.
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