Moral Theories, Principles of Health Care Ethics, and Professional Ethics Codes
Ethics is a branch of philosophy devoted to the study of morality. Ethics has a long history of theories about determining right from wrong and identifying the principles of living a good life. For this assessment, you will be asked to apply foundational principles in ethics, such as autonomy and justice, in a relevant health care setting.
Each profession within health care has its own code of ethical behavior designed to help individuals within that profession to make sound ethical choices in carrying out the tasks and practices particular to their professional role. It may be useful to locate one or more relevant codes of ethics for your current or desired career path. This research will be beneficial to your professional development, and you will have a chance to apply it to the Tonya’s Case: Ethics and Professional Codes assessment in this course.
Autonomy, Truth-Telling, and Confidentiality
These are broad-ranging topics, which, if taken alone, seem almost comically simple. Of course, rational people of legal age should be able to make decisions concerning themselves and their minor children. Of course, medical professionals should be honest with patients, and, of course, patients should be honest with members of their health care teams. Of course, one’s medical issues should be kept private. But rarely are things as simple as they seem. Take some time to scratch beneath the surface, and we encounter myriad ethical dilemmas.
Honesty tends to be a revered trait in many cultures. However, many people admit to lying occasionally, especially if the intent is to spare someone pain, embarrassment, or anguish. Is lying to someone because of love, concern, or reputation ever ethical?
Privacy and confidentiality are also important concepts. But are there limits? Can the greater good ever outweigh the rights of individuals?
And at what point can others, whether an individual or an entity such as a government body, ethically determine someone’s actions, fate, or choices? Fluoridated water, smoking regulations, compulsory K–12 education, and speed limits are only a few examples of how we, as a society, agree to limited personal freedoms because these things are good for us.
Demonstration of Proficiency
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assessment scoring guide criteria:
- Competency 1: Articulate ethical issues in health care.
- Articulate the time-tested theories of ethics.
- Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the time-tested theories of ethics.
- Competency 4: Explain the conceptual framework that health care leaders use to make ethical decisions.
- Identify the decision criteria of the time-tested theories of ethics.
As you begin work on your Ethical Theories Matrix assessment, it may be helpful to review the suggested resources focused on moral and ethical considerations. For your own reference, you may want to briefly jot down your thoughts related to:
- An inventory of the basic principles of health care ethics. These principles are nonmaleficence, beneficence, utility, distributive justice, and autonomy.
- An explanation of each principle as well as your own example to illustrate the application of each.
Drawing from the material covered in the resources as well as your own research, complete this assessment using the Ethical Theory Matrix Template [DOC].
- For each theory, first describe the decision criteria. The decision criteria are the instructions the theory gives for how to reach the morally correct choice in a situation that requires action.
- Then, provide your own example of how someone might act using the decision criteria of the theory.
- Finally, briefly describe the strengths and weaknesses of each theory using the last two columns of the Ethical Theory Matrix Template.
The suggested resources for this assessment could help you get a start on completing the matrix, but do not hesitate to use any outside resources that you can find online, the Capella library, or elsewhere.
This matrix is a tool you will use throughout the rest of the course. Submit your completed matrix as an attachment to this assessment.
Refer to the Matrix of Ethical Theories Scoring Guide for more information on how this assessment will be graded.