Reflective Assignment Based on Ethical Memoir
You began this session considering a moral-ethical dilemma you yourself faced that you either resolved or failed to resolve, but hopefully learned from. You may never have given much thought to ethical theory nor what ethical premises/paradigms you have unconsciously held.
Now that you have had an opportunity to explore ethics formally, create a reflective assessment of your learning experience and the collaborations you engaged in throughout this session. You will submit the following:
A written reflection
For the written reflection, revisit your ethical memoir and address the following:
What ethical theory best applies to your experience?
Which significant author you have studied most speaks to your own ethical paradigm as you are (re)forming it now?
If you did not resolve your ethical dilemma when you experienced it, what would you do now and why?
My experience was based on a nurse who called the father of a patient contemplating suicide without consent. While HIPAA provides guidelines on maintaining patient privacy, the patient was still a minor and contemplating suicide more so due to the fear of what he father might do. The nurse felt the father needed to know the truth and deal with the situation before it got out of hand. The best ethical theory that applies to this situation is the ethics of duty (Deontology). Developed by Immanuel Kant, he argued that people are directed to do what they ought to do and not what they wish to do by goodwill. The basis of any moral action is duty and people act for duty based on their [cmppp_restricted] goodwill and this gives the action of people moral value(Ruggiero, 2012). In the case of my situation, the nurse has a professional duty to observe the guidelines of HIPAA but again the duty to ensure the patient receives required help. So, the dilemma is which duty takes precedence.
Immanuel Kant has been influential in my reforming of ethical paradigm. His view of ethics based on goodwill provides a way of all actions to have moral value. Actions are only good if they are as a result of one’s goodwill. It is true that people can act in ways viewed by society as ethical but only for their own present or future benefit. Such an action according to Kant is not good. As I reform my ethical paradigm, I have come to uphold the principles of applying goodwill in all action. The definition of good and bad in the modern world is based more on rules and regulations. However, laws are different from ethics which is where goodwill comes in. any action which is accompanied by goodwill has moral value and thus ethical. Goodwill directs people to act with certainty in moral judgement. One can only be certain that an action is moral if the action is undertaken in reference to one’s goodwill. By applying this principle, I will be able to be certain about which actions are moral or immoral.
I did not resolve the dilemma when it occurred though it did not have any dire consequences. However, my ethical paradigm has now changed. Based on the situation, the moral decision was based on the goodwill of the nurse. As it stands, the nurse called the father based on her goodwill to ensure the patient and his sister did not do anything irrational. However, HIPAA required her to follow privacy rules. Considering that the patient was contemplating suicide, it was clear that he had not talked with his father about the situation at hand. The father had the ability to resolve the situation, but only if he knew what was going on. So the nurse made a judgement call based on goodwill. However, the privacy guidelines are also based on patient’s goodwill (HHS, 2018). Thus, while the nurse acted swiftly, the patient was not in immediate risk, and it would have been better to consult the patient first before making the call. If the same happened today, I would have the goodwill not to report the nurse but reason with him/her based on the different ways such a situation could go wrong and apply the best goodwill to the patient.
Ruggiero, V. R. (2012). Thinking critically about ethical issues (8th Ed) New York: Mc-Graw Hill.
U.S Department of health &Human Services (HHS) (2018). Health Information Privacy. Retrieved 14 October 2019, from https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/index.html [/cmppp_restricted]