Learner’s Development and Environment: Reflective Thinking

Topics: Ethics, Nursing, Health care Pages: 3 (1179 words) Published: August 3, 2013

Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice
Grand Canyon University
Ethical Decision Making in Healthcare
April 20, 2013

Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice
Nurses are faced with ethical dilemmas on nearly a daily basis when practicing within hospitals, physician’s offices and outpatient settings. How one responds to those dilemmas are based on the ethical framework upon which the nurse bases her care and practice. Ethical frameworks can be described as a set of one or more ethical guidelines which can be combined and used to solve ethical questions or dilemmas. (answers corporation, 2013)

In the ER episode titled “Be Patient”, emergency department nurse Carol Hathaway treats two 14 year old girls for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) felt were contracted through casual “sex parties with multiple partners.”(Nathanson, 2000, ¶ 4) Hathaway tells the teenagers that their parents do not need to be notified of the STD testing or results. It is later discovered that one of the girls has cervical cancer and Hathaway is informed by one of the physicians that she has an obligation to not only inform the parents but also the school the girls attend. It is felt that the fact that the girls had multiple partners created a “public health issue.”(Nathanson, ¶ 4) This puts Hathaway in an awkward situation since she had previously told the girls their test results would not be divulged. Confidentiality in healthcare can be viewed in various ways. One may feel that if the patient shares information with the nurse, the right to privacy has been waived. (Purtilo & Doherty, 2011) It is not uncommon for shared information to be passed along in end of shift hand-off communication, physician rounds and in any communication whereby that information may be deemed useful. The patient typically feels that by sharing personal, private information it will be used by those in the healthcare team to make the...

References: American Medical Association (1994). Opinion 9.11 Ethics Committees in Healthcare Institutions. Retrieved 4-20-13, from http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion911.page
American Nurses Association (2013). Florence Nightingale Pledge. Retrieved 4-20-13, from http://nursingworld.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/AboutANA/WhereWeComeFrom/FlorenceNightingalePledge.aspx
American Nurses Association (n.d.). Ethical Principles. Retrieved 4-20-13, from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/EthicsStandards/Resources/Ethics-Definitions.pdf
Nathanson, P. G. (2000). Bioethics on NBC’s ER Betraying trust or providing good care? When is it okay to break confidentiality? Retrieved 4-20-13, from http://web.archive.org/web/20110706061843/http://www.bioethics.net/articles.php?viewCat=7&articleId=133
Purtilo, R., & Doherty, R. (2011). Why honor confidentiality? In K. Falk & L. Westbrook (Eds.), Ethical Dimensions in Healthcare (pp. 202-222). United States: Elsevier Saunders.
answers corporation (2013). What is ethical framework? Retrieved 4-20-13, from http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_ethical_framework
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