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Ethical Self-Assessment, Research Paper Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1026

Research Paper

As I review my selections made on the ethical self-assessment instrument, I am generally pleased.  The most critical factor when performing this, in my estimation, was a careful and honest response to each statement.  This approach is not necessarily indicative of a moral standard I sought to uphold, or a commitment to virtuous behavior within me; rather, it was a pragmatic decision to follow. In simple terms, there is little point to any consideration of how I proceed ethically if I am not forthright in responding.  Moreover, taking the time to seriously reflect on each statement enabled me to bypass “wishful thinking”, or mark a level of attainment I desire to be accurate, but cannot with confidence assert as such.

The most influential or striking result to me, after examining my responses collectively, is that my ethical decision-making appears to be set on a firm foundation.  In the process of responding, in fact, many responses were dictated at a visceral level.  For example, regarding the question of my decisions being based on need, rather than a patient’s ability to pay, I immediately checked the “always” box.  I did not review my own history here until after I made the mark, yet I feel that this in itself validates the selection.  More exactly, the statement triggered in me an automatic reaction based on what I believe to be unalterably an ethical reality.  No one in health care may properly deny care when need is apparent, under any circumstances.  Then, as I took a moment to look back on my experiences, I believe I was confirmed in making that choice.  This, as in other statements on the self-assessment, was a case of an ethical imperative felt so strongly by me that I trusted I could not have violated it willingly in the past.  I felt on equally firm ground when statements regarding community work and encouragement were presented.  Here, too, I learned in reviewing both my responses and the timing of them that certain principles do not admit of ambiguity to me.   For example, as with the payment statement, I did not hesitate in checking “always” regarding my commitment to protecting the privacy rights of a patient.  These are matters I see as integral to health care, and as beyond question as the providers basic commitment to work for the public good.

At the same time, the ACHE standards allowed for a different kind of learning for me, and not necessarily a welcome type.  This I discovered more acutely in those areas where more active ethical involvement is in question.  For example, a statement reads: “I keep the board appropriately informed about issues of alleged financial malfeasance, clinical malpractice

and potential litigious situations involving employees.”  Here, I confess, I desired an opportunity to provide more than a one-word response.  If, as the statement clearly suggests, ACHE standards require this level of interaction, I must candidly admit that circumstances will sometimes dictate my decisions in this regard.  This is not a wavering of my ethical standards, I believe, but more an awareness of the gravity of what this statement implies.  While I would be most certainly desirous of bringing any impropriety of these kinds to the board’s attention, the key word in the statement is, “appropriately.”  Clearly, any such action on my part may well have severe consequences for others, and I could not act from an ethical imperative without being assured that the situation warranted such action.  Here, in fact, ethics comprehends a range of other ethics; as I am responsible for reporting abuses, I am equally obligated to not cavalierly exercise this prerogative.

Similarly, I am compelled to wonder about the ACHE standards as being as exacting as they seem.  That is to say, I tend to believe that the assessment statements, particularly in regard to interacting with staff and management, are not absolutes unto themselves because a strict adherence to them would likely impede a facility’s ability to function at all.  For example, in terms of holding all staff and clinical partners accountable for complying with professional standards, I am, again, guided by my sense of ethics, yet also aware that any perceived lapses in this arena may be prompted by relevant factors unknown to me.  More exactly, I am wary of any uniform expectation of standards when, frankly, no health care professional can know precisely what is correct to do in every department.  I have an obligation to see that the ethical conduct around me reflects that of the organization’s, but I must also be mindful that professionalism and ethical choices may appear wrong when, in fact, they are made for critical reasons not immediately apparent.

All of this distinctly relates to how ethics influence my decision making.  I am pleased that, as noted, my essential ethical priorities are reflexive, as I rely on them to guide me in initial reactions.  At the same time, they encompass further responsibilities, if ethics are to be truly maintained at all.  If, for example, I am committed to protecting a patient’s right to privacy, that same regard for another must bear on how I address any perceived breach of ethics by an associate.  Ethics is by no means an ephemeral field; as real circumstances trigger ethical response, so too must that response take into account pragmatic factors seemingly distanced from morality.  It is a greater awareness of this entire responsibility, in fact, that the self-assessment gave me.  To that end, I feel that certain strategies will assist me in the future, and specifically in the form of a process on which I may rely.  As indicated, I value my immediate, ethical reactions, as I trust in the rightness of them.  However, the process must be followed in all cases before I act in any way that may have negative impact on another.  I must be mindful to obtaining as much information as I can before I proceed, as I must also understand that others may hold to gradations in ethical thinking different than my own.  Consequently, I believe my ethical decision-making in the future will invariably reflect a sense of this responsibility.

References

American College of Healthcare Executives. (2012).  Ethics -Self-Assessment. Retrieved from http://www.ache.org/newclub/career/Ethics_self-assessment.pdf

 

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