Healthcare ethics implies to a range of principles that guide nurses, doctors and other clinicians in the delivery of medical care. It combines moral beliefs with a sense of the provider’s duty toward others. In the opinion of Regina Temple, in addition to how providers treat patients, ethics in healthcare also influences the relationship between healthcare professionals, vendors, and more.
Regina Temple underlines a few vital aspects of ethics in healthcare
Ethics is defined as the moral principles that tend to govern the behavior of a person, or how a professional conducts themselves. As healthcare deals with moral dilemmas regarding life and death, a strong ethical code is needed to provide guidance in making decisions. When healthcare providers take ethical concerns into account, they will be in a better place to make decisions that are equitable and respectful.
Workplace ethics are of paramount importance in almost every industry, but especially healthcare as this domain focuses on well-being and safety of individuals. Ethical considerations have a major role to play in making sure that each and every patient at a hospital receives the best possible care.
Here are some of the most vital aspects of ethics in healthcare:
- Patient trust and safety: Trust is considered to be the foundation of the relationship between a healthcare service provider and the patients. Healthcare professionals are entrusted with the lives and well-being of the patients, making ethical conduct a priority. Patients must be confident that their healthcare team, comprising of doctors, nurses and other professionals, would put their well being above all. Violations of trust, like negligence, fraud, or breaches of confidentiality, can have detrimental consequences, erode trust, and compromise patient safety.
- Confidentiality: Professionals working in the healthcare industry are often privy to sensitive and personal patient information. Ethical obligations dictate that such information must be kept confidential. Breaching patient confidentiality may violate trust, and can even have legal and professional repercussions. Patients should feel safe sharing their medical history fears with their doctors without fearing that their information might end up getting misused.
- Informed consent: It is prudent for healthcare providers to obtain informed consent from patients or their family before any medical procedure or treatment. The patients or their family members, depending on the circumstances, must fully understand the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a proposed treatment. Respecting the autonomy of the patient and the right to make decisions about their own care is an ethical imperative. Failing to do so can lead to patient dissatisfaction.
- Equity and fairness: People working at hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities must make sure that healthcare resources are distributed in an equitable and fair manner. Ethical dilemmas may crop up when there are limited resources, like organs for transplant or access to high-cost treatments.
According to Regina Temple, ethical conduct is closely tied to the quality of care delivered at a hospital. No matter its type or size, all healthcare facilities focus on providing the highest quality care possible. To do so, they need to stay up-to-date with current medical knowledge and best practices, advocate for patients, and collaborate effectively with other members of the healthcare team.