The safety and wellbeing of a patient rely on the ethical decisions of a health professional. Healthcare professionals must be proficient in ethical decision making for them to be considered fit for the practice. Also, they must be able to accomplish the best possible and morally-justifiable resolution while prioritizing the interest of a patient. Often, almost all clinical settings are confronted with various ethical issues that are difficult to deal with and that stands in need of a solution. As a result, it requires health professionals to adopt a consistent decision-making process so as to reach an ethical conclusion.
The nurse-client relationship has been a major ethical issue confronting most of the facilities. Essentially, the relationship is the keystone of care since it enables nurses to connect and interact with their patients while understanding their needs (Park, 2011). Also, nurses are able to establish a unique perspective on the illness, beliefs, and preferences of patients. As a result, it enables patients to feel cared for leading them to open up to the nurses thus achieving better outcomes. However, lack of trust between a client and a nurse significantly affects the outcomes of care. An ethical problem is likely to occur when the nurse discloses patient's information with outside treatment team including with the family members, thus bringing mistrust between them (Goodman, 2017). Nurses can only share information of the patient with the professional staffs, but to the others, it requires the consent of the patient including written permission that can guarantee the nurse to share the information with family members. This is because lack of trust may make patients feel anxious during their hospital stay and may make it difficult for them to accept any treatment hence becoming a major ethical issue in the health facility.
Analyzation of Information
The ethical issue of nurse-patient relationship serves a large population of individuals, families, groups and the entire community. The key stakeholders include patients, family members who are the caregivers, health professionals and the environment which entails the institute, associates of health professionals and a cultural society (Park, 2011). To overcome the problem, the information required is the biological type of information, physiological, social or historical information, and goals, preferences or values connected to the nurse-patient relationship issue. By looking at additional information, the initial problem is correctly stated.
To address the issue of the nurse-patient relationship, the alternative programs analyzed by stakeholders are based on diverse ethical rules, principles, theories, codes of ethics and legal aspects. A major ethical rule considered is confidentiality which ensures that the relationship between a nurse and a patient is safe and one with trust (Entwistle et al., 2015). Confidentiality ensures that the patient is comfortable in disclosing personal information to the nurse and on the other hand, the nurse cannot share the information without the consent of the patient. A common classical ethical principle on the issue is that of respect for patient autonomy which allows patients to make choices on which healthcare interventions they will or will not receive. A major ethical theory that can be applied on the issue of nurse-patient relationship is the utilitarianism theory which in essence holds a core concept that nurses ought to produce the most happiness to the patients and reduce suffering and any form of unhappiness. Virtue ethics considers nurses as the moral agents particularly on their character and not on their rightness of an action, but ought to bring good consequences.
The best alternative to the issue of nurse-patient relationship is using the ethical principle of confidentiality which is able to bring trust and trustworthiness within healthcare. Trust is the foundation of nursing care and most significantly in a nurse-patient relationship since it enables the patients to comfortably speak to the nurse truthfully concerning his or her condition. Confidentiality makes the connection between the nurse and the patient to reach the solidarity level where the patient is able to feel equal to the nurse in that he/she realizes that the nurse is on his/her side and can be offered the best treatment with commitment and compassion.
Strategies for Implementation
The best strategy in supporting the ethical decision of enhancing confidentiality in the nurse-patient relationship is ensuring that information about the patient is not told to others including family members (Goodman, 2017). Another way is ensuring that the files of the patients and their medical details are locked and secured in a safe place. Also, nurses should lower their voices when speaking to their patients to ensure others don't hear. An ethical argument to this is that patients who do not trust their health professional are likely to feel anxious and may make them experience more pain and complication. However, those that develop trust with their nurses, they are likely to feel satisfied with their treatment.
In clinical practice, ethical decision-making is becoming more and more challenging making it hard to be dealt with. An ethical issue such as that of nurse-patient relationship stands in a need of a solution and should not be overlooked since it involves patient care. Nurses should ensure they develop confidentiality principle which significantly brings about trust that helps patients to comfortably open up to their issues.
Entwistle, V. A., Carter, S. M., Cribb, A., & McCaffery, K. (2015). Supporting patient autonomy: the importance of clinician-patient relationships. Journal of general internal medicine, 25(7), 741-745.
Goodman, K. W. (2017). Ethics, information technology, and public health: new challenges for the clinician-patient relationship. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 38(1), 58-63.
Park, E.-J. (2011). An integrated ethical decision-making model for nurses. Nursing Ethics, 19(1), 139-159.
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