Discussion Board: Code of Ethics
Examples of Ethical Dilemmas
Medical practitioners including nurses, physicians, and managers or chief executive officers of healthcare facilities work in high-pressure settings characterized by numerous ethical dilemmas. These issues or dilemmas necessitated the development of the Code of Ethics to act as professional guidelines for medical practitioners to use in decision-making in such tricky situations. One example of ethical dilemmas is the conflict between personal responsibilities and duty of care to patients. Medical practitioners frequently find themselves in a dilemma when they are required to choose between caring for their patients and discharging their personal responsibilities especially in the case of a sick loved one who needs their care and attention. In such a scenario, it is common for doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners to feel like they are betraying the trust of their patients or loved ones depending on the scenario she or he responds to. However, medical practitioners are ethically and professionally bound to make the care for and wellbeing of patients their primary concern.
The second example of an ethical issue involves competing obligations. Medical practitioners especially in the understaffed facility may notice that a colleague is incompetent in key areas of their duties and responsibilities thereby putting the lives of patients in danger. However, due to understaffing the medical practitioner may feel unsure whether to report the incidence or not as it may further curtail the facility’s service delivery. Moreover, she or he may be conflicted due to the need to protect a colleague. While an impulsive reaction would be to report the colleague, it is imperative to take a creative approach to the issue which might first involve talking to the colleague in question. Encouraging him or her to engage in career development initiatives such as training may help in resolving the issue. Reporting should be a last resort in case such approaches fail.
Healthcare Organizations and Ethical Practices
Health care organizations play a vital role in shaping ethical practices within the industry. In particular, American Medical Association (AMA) has been at the forefront in defining ethical practices, industry standards and influencing health care policies since its founding over a century ago. Through research, AMA has developed industry-based standards that medical practitioners all over the country use as guidelines. These professional standards and guidelines are the primary pillars of ethical practices in the American health care industry. Moreover, by influencing health care policies in the country the organization has played a vital role in defining the legislative foundation of ethical practices. These standards and legal issues have been incorporated not only within the medical practice but also in healthcare education.
The essence of having ethical practice and Code of Ethics is ensuring that medical practitioners and patients alike are not only aware of them but also using them. Without dissemination, these ethical practices would remain good on paper but untested within the healthcare setting. To bridge this gap, AMA is dedicated to disseminating these ethical practices, industry standards, and legislations to medical practitioners, patients, and the general public. Accessibility of ethical practices guidelines and standards through its library facilitates the ability of hospitals and health care professionals to incorporate the same within their practice. Most importantly, AMA leads by example by relying on scientific research-based evidence to back these ethical practices and standards. By becoming a role model, AMA highlights the importance of evidence-based practice as one of the primary ethical practices in the health care industry.