All healthcare workers need to recognize and deal with all the healthcare dilemmas frequently witnessed within the sector. They are also required to take into consideration the fundamental principles of ethics. Moreover, the codes of ethics provide an essential framework for medical officers and other workers, including family nurse practitioners, to deal with different ethical dilemmas. A family nurse practitioner can identify the nature of a moral dilemma and apply the relevant ethical principles in response to the situation. Applying ethical principles is essential to uphold the effectiveness of healthcare service delivery to the people. As a family nurse practitioner, the case study on “Should the public be informed?” contains some aspects of an ethical dilemma where a code of ethics and ethical considerations are applicable.
Does the case fit the criteria of an ethical dilemma? Explain.
Yes, the case contains considerable aspects of an ethical dilemma. The dilemma builds between the duty to treat Ebola patients and the negative impacts or threats to public safety in the United States. The dilemma is evident when the administrators are unwilling to reveal the establishment of Ebola hospitals in the country. It is also an ethical dilemma because the administrators need to gain more knowledge to attract people to their hospitals if they realize the presence of Ebola patients and hospitals in the country. The ethical dilemma is evident when the disease control and prevention unit establishes three hospitals without public participation. If the people are not informed about the presence of Ebola patients in hospitals, justice and fairness issues will be directed to the health sector in the United States.
What is your position on this case?
As a family nurse practitioner, my position would be ethical, involving transparency and integrity. The health sector needs to adopt high levels of transparency and integrity to win the people’s trust (Vian, 2020). The two aspects are critical to informed decision-making. Based on the information in the case study, the decision to inform the public about the plan to set up the three hospitals and another treatment area in the country is crucial. In this case, public participation would be essential even in proposing better precautions and measures against Ebola.
On which ethical basis do you formulate your position?
Beneficence is a crucial ethical notion in healthcare, including the moral need to promote patients’ well-being and best interests (Ahmed et al., 2020). With the ethical dilemma in the above case study, beneficence is applicable. Family Nurse Practitioners must always contribute to the well-being of individuals under their care. As a family nurse practitioner, incorporating beneficence in service delivery improves community well-being. Creating awareness of authorized Ebola treatment centers would be an informed decision as it will attract public participation.
The principle of non-maleficence can also be used to formulate the ethical position of a family nurse practitioner. The principle of non-maleficence restricts medical practitioners from imposing any harm to the patient (Pietilä et al., 2020). Medical practitioners are restricted from committing any offensive action to the public. The actions to set up Ebola treatment areas and three hospitals would potentially expose the public to dangerous diseases in the country. A family nurse practitioner should prioritize public safety and minimize any possible risks that would put the public in a vulnerable situation. This idea is vital for building patient and healthcare confidentiality within the sector.
The ethical position can also be established based on autonomy and ethical principles of justice. The ethical principle of autonomy allows the public to make decisions without harmful interference (Varkey, 2021). A family nurse practitioner should always support the ethical principle of autonomy, and people should be given the authority to decide on actions taken by the country’s healthcare sector. The ethical principle of justice implies that the healthcare sector must always embrace fairness (Varkey, 2021). Therefore, setting up three hospitals and treatment zones with minimal public consultation is unfair.
Does the code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements provide guidance in this situation?
The code of ethics for the nurses with interpretive statements guides the situation. Nurses can expose the quality of nursing care to the public. The interpretive statements can emphasize and establish ethical obligations. The code of ethics for such nurses also embraces ethical decision-making aspects that are important in healthcare. Nurses with interpretive statements align with the common goal of healthcare sectors in promoting public health. Notifying the public of the decision to set up hospitals to treat patients suffering from Ebola is inherent in promoting public health. Therefore, a code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements can offer ultimate guidance in the ethical dilemma.
In conclusion, an ethical dilemma confronts the family nurse practitioner (FNP) in the case study. The case study is mainly on the Ebola outbreak and the decision to establish three specific hospitals and treatment areas in the United States. The decision of the public is not incorporated into the decision-making. Therefore, an ethical dilemma arises as a result of such actions. Competing ideals create an ethical dilemma because healthcare practitioners and administrators worry that disclosing information to the public might damage their reputations and good relationships with the people. As a family nurse practitioner, it is vital to consider ethical principles. Taking into consideration the code of ethics helps in eliminating the dilemma.
Ahmed, A., Ali, H. S., & Mahmoud, M. A. (2020). Prioritizing Well-being of Patients through Consideration of Ethical Principles in Healthcare Settings: Concepts and Practices. Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy, 11(5).
Pietilä, A. M., Nurmi, S. M., Halkoaho, A., & Kyngäs, H. (2020). Qualitative research: Ethical considerations. The application of content analysis in nursing science research, 49-69.
Varkey, B. (2021). Principles of clinical ethics and their application to practice. Medical Principles and Practice, 30(1), 17-28.
Vian, T. (2020). Anti-corruption, transparency and accountability in health: concepts, frameworks, and approaches. Global health action, 13(sup1), 1694744.