Cultures are around the globe have different morals and ethics. This fact requires the healthcare personnel to be well-aware of the cultural diversities of the world to make better ethical decision-making.
Ethical decision-making is altered because of cultural diversity. For one, the same action may be moral and ethical for you but immoral and unethical for another. This is Ethical relativism. Ethical relativism is the most commonly used theory that holds that morality is dependent to the norms of one’s culture. (Pozgar, 2009)
Ethical decision making is already a very hard problem solving process of recognizing the problem, applying the ACA Code of Ethics, shaping the nature and magnitude of the dilemma, generating potential courses of action, considering the potential consequences of all options, choosing a course of action, evaluating and implementing the course of action (ACA, 2005). How much more if you are required to choose your patient’s best interest while respecting your and your patient’s beliefs and values?
The core concepts of bioethics come into place this time. The values and beliefs may be different but we all base our principles in the same moral values – autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice and fidelity-which must be considered in ethical decision-making. However, conflicts may still arise even if the principles have already been well thought-out. This time, the best standard to follow is the legislation. The law is the implemented morality principle in an area that acts as guiding code for the conduct and behaviour of persons under its power.
Forester-Miller, Holly, and Thomas Davis. “A Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Decision Making.” A Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Decision Making (1996). Welcome to the American Counseling Association. American Counceling Association, 2005. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. <http://www.counseling.org/Resources/CodeOfEthics/TP/Home/CT2.aspx>.
Pozgar, George. Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Care Professionals, 2nd Edition. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 012010. 42 – 44
Autonomy, Fidelity and Confidentiality.
Principles of bioethics serve as the foundations to a more enlightened view of the moral philosophies of the world. Everyday, healthcare providers are given the hard task of decision-making in their chosen fields. Bioethical principles provide the core basis of sound decision making to protect their patients, and themselves, as well.
Autonomy is respect for the individual and their ability to make decisions with regard to their own health and future (Pozgar, 2009). This involves seeing the individual as a person of capacity to decide for himself what he thinks is best. The concept of autonomy is evidenced by the presence of Informed Consent in healthcare organizations.
Fidelity on the other hand means to be faithful or loyal. The principle is supported by actions that promote trust and faith of the patient to the healthcare provider and vice versa. This includes honouring commitment and promoting a therapeutic relationship.
Confidentiality, according to Pozgar (2009) is a principle that is interrelated with different ethical values. Confidentiality can either support or oppose autonomy and beneficence. Confidentiality shows the respect for an individual by giving him the control of his own information and not divulging records to someone that is not involved in the person’s care. But the practice of confidentiality is questioned in psychiatric patients because sometimes, these patients lack appropriate judgement and they may distort reality causing serious harm to another party, or that person him/herself. Following the principle of beneficence and nonmaleficence, the health care provider can now disclose information to authorities to prevent this from happening.
McCormick, Thomas R. “Principles of Bioethics.” Principles of Bioethics (1998). UW Departments Web Server. 11 Apr. 2008. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. <http://depts.washington.edu/bioethx/tools/princpl.html>.
Pozgar, George. Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Care Professionals, 2nd Edition. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 012010. 77 – 82