Ethics is a set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct. The fundamental principles of ethics include; beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice. Beneficence is defined as charity, mercy, and kindness with a strong connotation of doing good to others, including moral obligation. The principle of nonmaleficence holds that there is an obligation not to inflict harm on others. It is closely associated with the maxim primum non-nocere (first, not harm). Autonomy refers to self-government and responsible control of one’s life. Justice is about the thoughts and feelings people have about the relation between the value of people and their outcomes. An “ error of ethics” is the view that the ordinary user of moral language typically makes claims involving mistakes (Dean, 2021). The ethics concepts introduce a wrong, erroneous way of thinking about the world or conducting practical reasoning.
Health ethical errors are some of the errors made by the staff in the healthcare team while delivering healthcare services to the people. Examples of ethical issues in healthcare entail a healthcare provider overseeing a patient’s health, disagreements about treatment decisions, waiting lists, and access to resources can be some of the challenges that pose ethical dilemmas. The five top ethical issues in healthcare include balancing care quality and efficiency, improving access to care, building and sustaining the future healthcare workforce, addressing end-of-life issues, and allocating limited medications and donor organs (World Health Organization, 2021). For the review, we define ‘ethical case intervention’ as services provided by an individual ethicist, an ethics team, or a committee to address the ethical conflicts involved in a specific clinical case.
Ethical challenges in clinical practice are based on moral values in the sense of individual or collective concepts about ‘good’ or ’right’ actions. In recent decades, ethical case interventions have been developed and increasingly implemented to support decision-making about ethical challenges in clinical practice. Currently, different models of ethical case interventions, for example, ethics consultation, moral case deliberations, and ethics rounds, are used in clinical practice. Ethical conflicts in clinical practice are related to moral values or norms relevant to a patient’s care in clinical practice. Ethical case interventions are complex interventions. They are multidisciplinary, and the behavior of each participant influences the process as well as the outcome. Ethical case interventions in clinical practice aim to clarify, analyze and resolve ethical conflicts related to a specific clinical case (Grace & Uveges, 2022). While different models exist, ethical case interventions generally work through a structured communication process.
Benefits of ethical case intervention may be achieved through; an improved understanding of the clinical case by the carers involved, reaching a shared understanding of the ethical conflict, improved understanding of the value-related perspectives of different stakeholders, and developing a joint plan for care in an ethically challenging situation. The executive, in partnership with the governing body and clinical staff, must act with other responsible parties, such as ethics committees, to serve as a role model, fostering and supporting a culture that not only provides high-quality, value-driven healthcare but promotes ethical behavior and practices of individuals throughout the organization ( Dean, 2021). Recognizing the significance of ethics to the organization’s mission and fulfillment of its responsibilities, healthcare executives must demonstrate the importance of ethics in their actions and seek various ways to integrate ethical practices and reflection into the organization’s culture.
To create an ethical culture, healthcare executives should; support the development and implementation of ethical standards of behavior, including ethical clinical leadership, management, research, and quality-improvement practices; ensure practical and comprehensive ethics resources, including an ethics committee, exist and are available to develop, propagate and clarify such standards of behavior when there is ethical uncertainty, support and implement a systematic and organization-wide approach to ethics training including the consequences of social disparities in healthcare and corporate compliance and, exemplify diversity, inclusion, and equity as a core of organizational value in creating an ethical culture (World Health Organization, 2021). The ability of an organization to achieve its full potential as an ethically aligned organization will remain dependent upon the motivation, knowledge, skills, and practices of each individual within the organization, including all front-line workers and support staff.
Executives should create an ethical culture and lead through the following efforts; Demonstrating and modeling the importance of and commitment to ethics through decisions, practices, and behaviors, promulgating an organizational code of ethics that includes the ethical standards of behavior and guidelines. Reviewing the principles and ideals expressed in vision, mission and value statements, personnel policies, annual reports, orientation materials, and other documents to ensure congruence, Supporting policies and behaviors that reflect these ethics is essential to achieving the organization’s mission. Using regular communications to help foster an understanding of the organization’s commitment to ethics. Seek community and stakeholder input in decision-making. Collaborate with other community resources to make progress on community needs. Communicating expectations that behaviors and actions are based on the organization’s code of ethics, values, and ethical standards of practice. Ensuring that individuals are respected and expected to behave ethically (Grace & Uveges, 2022).
Fostering an environment in which the free expression of ethical concerns is encouraged and supported without retribution. Ensuring effective ethics resources such as ethics committees are available for discussing, researching, and addressing clinical, organizational, and ethical concerns. Establishing a mechanism that safeguards individuals who wish to raise ethical concerns. Seeking to ensure that individuals are free from all harassment, coercion, and discrimination (Dean, 2021). Providing an effective and timely process to facilitate dispute resolution. Using each individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities appropriately and ensuring a safe work environment exists.
Dean, R. K. (2021). Healthcare interpreting ethics: A critical review. The Routledge handbook of translation and health, pp. 198–215.
World Health Organization. (2021). Ethics and governance of artificial intelligence for health: WHO guidance.
Grace, P. J., & Uveges, M. K. (2022). Nursing ethics and professional responsibility in advanced practice. Jones & Bartlett Learning.