Sharon M Flemming
April 10, 2011
Administrative Ethics Paper
As an Administrator working in the health care field there may be a number of issues that one will face. Understanding the legal and ethical obligations held by that administrative position will assist in the decision-making when dealing with these situations. The article chosen presents a case study highlighting the conflict between an individual's right to privacy and the rights of patients and staff to know when a professional standard has been breached (Badzek, 1998). The health care administrator has responsibilities that extends beyond patient medical information to broader information systems that encompass the organization as a business and a workplace. Managing confidential information within the health care system requires ethical awareness, knowledge, and decision-making skill. With the growth of information systems one ethical concern that continually presents itself to the administrator is confidentiality of information (Badzek, 1998) regardless if that information is about a patient or an employee. According to Wellness Proposals (2009), Employee rights are imperative and any workplace health program initiative must have his or her interests first and foremost. This includes reassuring and taking steps to guarantee that employee confidentiality is respected and protected. Administrators play an important role in establishing and maintaining employee confidentiality, preserving confidentiality transcends simple nondisclosure of private information (Vaught, 2000).
The case study focuses on administrative nurses working for a small nonprofit hospital. Michelle, administrator of surgical services for three years, considered herself relatively new compared to other administrators within the hospital. Michele often disagreed with other administrators and believes her own personal values guided her decision making. She is committed to helping the nursing staff to provide the best care in a changing environment and believes that changes taking place within the hospital are related to the changing philosophy of the hospital administrative team. Jackie is a nurse who has not worked in several years who applied for
and received a position within the flexible nursing pool at the same nonprofit hospital
and believed that because she wouldn’t be a permanent staff member less would be expected of
Karen is the current nursing administrator for the hospitals flexible nursing pool. Karen
and Michelle are colleges who have often had conflicting views on issues related to quality care.
Michelle has presented issues concerning the ability of the flexible staff pool nurses to function
on the surgical units to Karen’s attention, without satisfactory resolution. Staffing pool nurses are
assigned randomly and are therefore harder to supervise (Badzek, 1998
Jackie rarely had the same unit and patient assignment. Jackie began to divert
narcotics and believed her actions were justified because she perceived the drugs reduced her anxiety
and stress, which enabled her to better care for her patients. The diversion went unnoticed for
some time because Jackie worked many different units. The diversion was discovered when
Jackie was assigned to the surgical unit for three weeks and the pharmacist noticed an increase in
narcotic use and a high number of signature errors on medication sheets in a unit known for few
The incident was brought to Michelle and Karen’s attention and after reviewing all the
facts Jackie was questioned and admitted to the diversion of the narcotics. Since Jackie
confessed and asked for help, Karen granted a leave of absence for rehabilitation and did not
believe it was necessary to report...