Healthcare professionals remain an indispensible component in healthcare sector as they provide quality, effective, reliable, and affordable medical services to their patients. However, in rapid and dynamic healthcare environment, healthcare professionals experience challenges and complex choices related to what they consider as appropriate for their patients. In most cases, healthcare professionals are torn between a hard place and a rock when the choices they make conflict with the values, beliefs, traditions, and customs of their patients and patients’ families thus culminating to ethical dilemmas. In the same vein, not only does the choices healthcare professionals make conflict with the values, beliefs, traditions, and customs of their patients and patients’ families, but also with the value system of the healthcare professions and codes of ethics and principles of healthcare sector. In other words, the choices and decisions a patient makes may not be congruent with what healthcare professions and patient’s family consider an appropriate course of action that should be undertaken help the patient recover and heal (Ludwick, 2000). It has also been established that the conflict occurs when the involved parties (health professionals, patients, and patients’ family) seem to share almost similar value and cultural system because the parties have different personal needs, preferences, and bias, which conflict with others.
The fact that healthcare professionals operate in a diverse and dynamic healthcare environment implies that their personal needs, preferences, and bias mighty conflict with those of their patients, and patients’ families thus leading to ethical dilemmas. For instance, a healthcare professional may prefer and recommend for a life support intervention for the patient, but the patient’s family may decline such a decision, despite the patient supporting the doctor’s decision. In another instance, a narcotic drug abuser may demand the healthcare professional to provide him with narcotic pain management because the abuser has that particular need of abusing narcotic drug. However, a healthcare professional should not comply with the abuser request because, in doing so, the physician would contravene codes of ethics and his value system.
In order to resolve such conflicts, and ethical dilemma issues, a healthcare professional should employ viable and suitable ethical principles in the decision-making process. In this case, a healthcare profession should employ the principle of beneficence, right -to -know, and veracity in decision-making. Using the principle of beneficence and right-to-know, the physician would aim to do good, and respect needs, preferences, and value system of the patient and seek patient’s informed consent. Similarly, the healthcare profession should use the principle of veracity to articulate truth to the patients. Integrating these principles would help the healthcare profession resolve ethical dilemma issues effectively and make viable decisions (Ludwick, 2000). Based on this assertion, it is evident that ethical principles guide healthcare professionals to formulate and resolve conflicts arising from difference in the needs, preference and bias of physicians and their patients.
Ludwick, R. (2000). "Ethics: Nursing Around the World: Cultural Values and Ethical Conflicts". Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 5(3), 1-10.