Ethical Self-Assessment Paper

Ethical Self-Assessment Paper

HCS/545

December 2016

Ethical Self-Assessment Paper

People make decisions on a daily basis. Some of these decisions affect only the individual making them, yet other decisions affect other people. In the healthcare field, administrators are charged with making decisions that affect not only the healthcare organization and its employees but also the community it serves. Due to current healthcare issues, it is essential that administrators maintain ethical standards of decision making. The American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE) supplies an analysis to help individuals determine the level of which they can comply with ethical decisions. This paper will identify and discuss the four major ethical principles. The paper will discuss what I have learned about my own ethical decision making process based on the self-assessment. Next, the paper will examine the effects of professional ACHE standards on my ethical decision making process, and how my individual ethics influence my decision making process. Finally, the paper will discuss the influences of individual ethics on professional decision making, and analyze the relationship of these principles to current healthcare issues.

Four Major Ethical Principles

Ethics relates to moral principles, values, and standards of conduct (World Health Organization, 2016). Healthcare is one field where ethics is always a concern. In the field of healthcare ethical concerns are raised over healthcare delivery, professional integrity, the way data is handled, research and human subjects, and the application of new techniques (i.e. gene manipulation) (World Health Organization, 2016). There are four main ethical principles: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. Each principle is associated with in interaction among patients and healthcare providers, and affects current healthcare issues.

Autonomy

Autonomy refers to a patient’s right to make competent rational informed decisions regarding their healthcare. According to University of Washington (2013), “Any notion of moral decision-making assumes that rational agents are involved in making informed and voluntary decisions. In health care decisions, our respect for the autonomy of the patient would, in common parlance, imply that the patient has the capacity to act intentionally, with understanding, and without controlling influences that would mitigate against a free and voluntary act. This principle is the basis for the practice of “informed consent” in the physician/patient transaction regarding health care.”

Beneficence

Beneficence refers to healthcare providers striving to uphold their duty to improve the health of a patient, and the decisions healthcare professionals must make on behalf of a patient to accomplish this goal. This principle requires that any care be provided with only good intentions for the good of the patient, and requires healthcare care professionals to establish and preserve skills and knowledge, continually update training, consider individual circumstances of all patients, and strive for net benefit (Stanford University, 2016). Beneficence is a duty, healthcare providers have the responsibility to solicit the best interest of all their patients, but, a doctor may pick and choose what patients they accept in their practice, and does not have a duty to help patients not accepted in the panel (University of Washington, 2013).

Non-maleficence

Non-maleficence refers to the duty healthcare providers have to cause no intentional harm to patients or others in society through omission or commission. It is irresponsible for a provider to inflict thoughtless or unacceptable imperil upon someone. This principle suggests furnishing an acceptable level of care that eliminates and/or reduces the likelihood of harm is supported not just by our common good convictions, but also the laws of society (University of Washington, 2013). Declaring the need for proficiency, non-maleficence states an underlying dedication from healthcare providers to protect patients from harm (University of Washington, 2013).

Justice

The principle of justice refers to healthcare providers being fair and just in the treatment options they offer all patients, even when they cannot pay. This includes new and experimental treatment options being equally allocated between all members of society. Justice suggests an unprejudiced distribution of goods and services in civilization and that we examine the role of privilege, like Medicare for all persons over age of 65 (University of Washington, 2013).

What I Have Learned and Its Affects My Ethical Decision-Making Process

Taking the ethical self-assessment has helped me realize that I did not know so many decisions I make in my professional life are based on my own ethical decision making process. I found myself contemplating over a few questions such as being a role model for ethical decisions. I was very pleased to learn that the assessment yielded results that suggest I possess a strong code of ethical standards which I uphold.

In the same way, I believe my personal ethics are the foundation for my entire decision making. I am not keen on making a professional decision that is not properly aligned with my personal ethics, but find that in support of my organization’s goals, visions, and mission I often have to do just that. I try to remain ethical in my thought and decision making process as best I can, but sometimes it is hard. I always consider the impact of my decisions and how they will affect others before I act.

Effect of ACHE Standards and My Ethical Decision Making

I have worked in on the administrative side of the medical field for almost ten years. I honestly cannot say that the ACHE standards have any influence, positive or negative, on my ethical decision making process. After reading the ACHE Code of Ethics, I can honestly say that it still will not have an impact on my ethical decision making process, as these are all things that are in alignment with my personal ethical standards. Knowing that the organization I work for as well as my own personal ethical standards is in alignment with those of the ACHE validates my beliefs and makes me feel like I chose the right organization to be a part of.

Individual Ethics and Its Influence on Decision Making

My personal ethics provide the foundation for my decision making process. When making decisions I always take into consideration: What is there to gain from my decision? Am I doing this for personal gain, does anyone else stand to gain from this and is this gain at the expense of someone else? I ask myself will this decision hurt anyone. If there are any benefits to my decision I consider does the benefit outweigh the burden? I also consider my cultural values, morals and other values instilled in me, and religious beliefs as they all play a big part in my decision making.

Influence of Individual Ethics on Professional Decision Making

I strongly believe that it is hard for your personal ethics not to influence your professional ethics. After completing the ethics self-assessment and reading the ACHE Code of Ethics, I learned that my personal ethical standards are aligned with that of the ACHE. I also realized that my employer’s goals, visions, and mission are also in alignment with the ACHE Code of Ethics, which makes me very proud to say, though it is hard to not let personal opinions influence your judgment professionally, my personal and professional ethical standards are very similar. In regards to current health issues, we must take care to ensure all our decisions meet the ACHE standards for ethical decision making, as some do not take ethics into consideration as long as it is beneficial to them and yields their desired outcome. A lack of care and concern can negatively influence a moderately ethical individual, and sway them to be less ethical in the decision making.

Conclusion

People make decisions on a daily basis. Some of these decisions affect only the individual making them, yet other decisions affect other people. In the healthcare field, administrators are charged with making decisions that affect not only the healthcare organization and its employees but also the community it serves. Ethics relates to moral principles, values, and standards of conduct (World Health Organization, 2016). Completing the ethics self-assessment helped me to analyze my own personal ethics and compare them to those of my employer and the ACHE Code of Ethics. Realizing that my personal ethics and its effect on my decision making process are in alignment with my organization’s as well as ACHE helps validate all the tough personal and professional choices I make.

References

Stanford University. (2016). What are the Basic Principles of Medical Ethics? Retrieved from

https://web.stanford.edu/class/siw198q/websites/reprotech/New%20Ways%20of%20Making%20Babies/EthicVoc.htm

University of Washington. (2013). Principles of Bioethics. Retrieved from

https://depts.washington.edu/bioethx/tools/princpl.html

World Health Organization. (2016). Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/topics/ethics/en/