Nursing and Ethics in Work

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Introduction

When providing the general picture of ethical principles, it is hard to deny that ethics implies behavior that correlates with justice, respectful attitude toward people, and non-violation of human rights. In the healthcare setting, ethical principles also should include beneficence, responsibility, and compliance with patients’ interests. It is possible to agree that everyday life allows a broader interpretation of ethical principles. In daily life, a person has a right to choose what to do: something that is better for him/her or something that is better for others. Medical staff, however, is intended to put patients’ well-being in the first place.

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Main body

To provide high-quality medical services, all people involved in healthcare need to understand ethical principles. Many of the existing ethical theories correlate with the healthcare setting. This paper will discuss the deontological theory and the theory of virtue ethics. Deontology addresses duties and rules that are considered good and moral by all people. It puts actions themselves in the first place and not the consequences. As Alexander and Moore note, “some choices cannot be justified by their effects,” and “no matter how morally good their consequences, some choices are morally forbidden” (qtd. in Rodger and Blackshaw 558). This theory correlates with respect for patients’ interests and rights. For instance, the researchers provide an example that deontology does not allow killing one patient in order to use their organs to save the lives of other people (Rodger and Blackshaw 558). This action can be considered immoral from the point of view of deontology.

The theory of virtue ethics addresses personal characteristics that make people act in accordance with morality. Rodger and Blackshaw point out that “it is about becoming the right sort of person by seeking to acquire certain virtues” (559). These virtues may include justice, patience, benevolence, courage, kindness, truthfulness, and others. The theory implies that when facing a situation requiring one to make a choice, a person possessing positive virtues will do what is right and moral. Compliance of one’s intellectual and character traits with ethical principles allows providing care to patients with an understanding of their needs and a positive approach that may include kindness, patience, and generosity towards them. In fact, it is hard to imagine that a cruel or evil person can work as a nurse or doctor. The principles of this theory also make healthcare not limited to the hospital setting. For instance, if some stranger on the street feels unwell, a doctor or a nurse facing this situation is likely willing to help, in case they possess certain virtues.

Apart from compliance with ethical principles, the healthcare setting requires meeting patients’ needs that include not just treatment itself but also the need for understanding of the treatment process. This issue can be addressed by a team of professionals that includes patient advocates. A patient advocate is the source of support, information, and help for the patient. According to the dictionary of the National Cancer Institute, it is a person who helps “guide a patient through the healthcare system,” which includes “going through the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of a medical condition” (“NSI Dictionary” para. 1). Advocates also may help people to communicate with healthcare providers, solve insurance issues, and set appointments. The role of a patient advocate can be performed by a professional individual, nurse, family member, or friend.

The healthcare system may be confusing at times, especially when a person is sick. Illnesses can cause great stress, and patients often need someone who can provide help and support, navigating them through all levels of the treatment process. That is why it is very important for patients, in some cases, to have an advocate. According to Apter et al., the usage of patient advocates can help to “fill an important gap in busy clinics” and address social and administrative barriers (20). As Headley notes, advocates contribute to more engagement of patients in their care (para. 8). In addition, they become more attentive to the treatment, medication, and appointments (Headley, para. 8). Thus, it is hard to deny that patient advocates help improve the quality of medical services and contribute to a positive outcome of the treatment process.

Ethics in the healthcare setting that was discussed above correlates with the principles of compassionate nursing. Compassionate care includes a high level of empathy for patients who suffer physically or mentally. It is possible to agree that when getting support and understanding from medical staff, patients may experience less anxiety and stress. However, this care model does not imply just sympathy or pity. Apart from understanding people’s sufferings, it also refers to the actions and solutions aimed at achieving the well-being of patients and alleviating their pain. In this regard, compassionate nursing should include critical thinking for medical staff to be able to make the right decisions.

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Nevertheless, even if a medical practitioner has a high level of critical thinking, it may be very difficult to constantly see people experiencing pain or anxiety because of their diseases. Not to mention the fact that in medical practice, one has to face fatal outcomes in patients. All of these may lead to emotional distress and burnout in healthcare professionals. This, in turn, may cause a decrease in productivity and job satisfaction. As Schaufeli et al. note, people with burnout can experience conditions of “exhaustion, fatigue, excitement, and loss of enthusiasm, feelings of inadequacy, frustration, cynicism or inefficiency” (qtd. in Yaman 61). It is possible to agree that it can be dangerous not only for a medical worker experiencing burnout but also for patients. In this regard, it is important to address this issue and discuss ways of avoiding burnout in medical practitioners.

Conclusion

One of the most effective strategies to prevent burnout is the help of a specialist. Psychotherapy is important not only for people facing serious mental disorders. It can be helpful for the prevention of these disorders as well, allowing people to share their thoughts and feelings and get an understanding of their emotional condition and its roots. Apart from psychotherapy, it is important to have a good working environment, especially for medical practitioners. According to Dempsey, hospitals need to provide an adequate organization of the working process, which includes, for instance, “uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, and work shifts of reasonable duration” (para. 9). Some clinic management initiatives, such as sporting events for hospital workers, also can be effective for stress prevention. Activities other than work can help medical staff get distracted and can have a positive effect on their mental health. It is possible to conclude that the prevention of burnout requires both personal efforts on the part of employees and an adequate organization of the working process on the part of hospital management.

Works Cited

Apter, Andrea J., et al. A Patient Advocate to Facilitate Access and Improve Communication, Care, and Outcomes in Adults with Moderate or Severe Asthma: Rationale, Design, and Methods of a Randomized Controlled Trial. 2017. Web.

Dempsey, Christina. “New Nursing Research Brings Motivational Theory to Life.” Press Ganey, 2016. Web.

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Headley, Megan. “Who Is the Patient Advocate?Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare, 2018. Web.

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. National Cancer Institute. Web.

Rodger, Daniel, and Bruce Blackshaw. “An Introduction to Ethical Theory for Healthcare Assistants.” British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, vol. 11, no. 11, 2017, pp. 556–561.

Yaman, Hakan. “Occupational Burnout in Healthcare Workers.” Cyprus Med J, vol. 2, no. 3, 2017, pp. 61–63.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, January 15). Nursing and Ethics in Work. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/nursing-and-ethics-in-work/

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, January 15). Nursing and Ethics in Work. https://psychologywriting.com/nursing-and-ethics-in-work/

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"Nursing and Ethics in Work." PsychologyWriting, 15 Jan. 2022, psychologywriting.com/nursing-and-ethics-in-work/.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Nursing and Ethics in Work'. 15 January.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Nursing and Ethics in Work." January 15, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/nursing-and-ethics-in-work/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Nursing and Ethics in Work." January 15, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/nursing-and-ethics-in-work/.


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PsychologyWriting. "Nursing and Ethics in Work." January 15, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/nursing-and-ethics-in-work/.