The Nurse’s Role in Ethics and Human Rights
In the medical setting, patient care is the cornerstone of healthcare practice. Besides a caregiver’s skills and knowledge about patient care and treatment, the care process’s effectiveness and success are also highly dependent on the relationship between the caregiver and the patient. Nurses need to deliver care and treatment without compromising patient rights. According to Hatamizadeh et al. (2019), patient rights are a subset of human rights which are responsibilities and duties medical practitioners must adhere to in medical care and treatment. The American Hospital Association’s Patients’ Bill of Rights provides a set of fifteen guarantees that patients should expect during their hospital stay.
The nurses must use the AHA as a book of reference to uphold and protect patient rights. When dealing with patients, nurses should also conform to principles of clinical ethics in order to uphold patient rights. Maintaining confidentiality is one way to protect patient rights. Nurses should disclose patient information to a third party only with the patient’s authorization. Often caregivers cultivate the erosion of confidentiality by sharing unnecessary information with colleagues, family members, social gatherings, media platforms, etc. At times, it can result in causing harm to the patients. For instance, stigmatization. Nurses should be conscious about observing and exercising discipline to adhere to the non-disclosure of patient health information to third parties (Varkey, 2021). This can be achieved by putting passwords on electronic devices storing patient health and maintaining anonymity when sharing medical conditions.
According to Varkey (2021), autonomy is based on a person’s intrinsic and unconditional worth. A patient must be granted the power to exercise rational decision-making. Patient autonomy has three derivatives; informed consent, truth-telling, and confidentiality, which are essential in protecting patient rights. Informing patients about their conditions, risks, benefits and options for medical treatment ensures that a nurse seeks consent before proceeding to treatment. The Patient’s Bill of Rights demands that a patient should also be informed about a hospital’s policies and practices relating to care and treatment (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 2021). Additionally, that patients should be aware of the price of interventions and whether or not the treatment is research experimentation. Additionally, they should be informed about the period in which the hospital will continue giving them care and a reasonable notification in case care is no longer available or appropriate. Nurses are obligated to tell the truth by disclosing important medical information without withholding any information from patients at all times.
Conclusively, patients’ rights are a basic yet critical rule of conduct that heath caregivers and other medical personnel must adhere to. Nurses must understand and stress the need to uphold and protect patient rights. Patients’ rights protection can only be successful if nurses understand the significance of patient rights and their influence on their nursing practice. The ways mentioned above can significantly contribute to upholding the patient’s right to privacy, confidentiality, and patients’ rights at large.
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Patients’ rights form a category of human rights in the context of healthcare. The issues that should be addressed in the category of patient rights are; consent, confidentiality, emergency treatment, continuity of care, and patient competence. Healthcare professionals can ensure that patients’ rights are protected and upheld in several ways. The most basic form of ensuring that patients’ rights are kept and protected is acquiring the appropriate knowledge about the ethical practices in various contexts and understanding why the ethical principles have been put in place (Wheeler et al., 2019). Creating a proper awareness of patients’ rights allows relevant application in clinical areas. Understanding the rights of patients ensures respect for their autonomy. The second approach towards upholding and protecting patients’ rights involves collaborating with patients regarding their healthcare goals. A comprehensive understanding of the patient’s goals promotes shared decision-making and develops an understanding of the various components of patient rights. Healthcare providers should also work collaboratively with the patient to arrive at an appropriate plan best suited for the two extremes. Shared decision-making promotes patient rights, including healthcare provider-patient trust, beneficence, and patient autonomy.
Another strategy by healthcare providers to ensure patients’ rights are protected and upheld involves ensuring informed consent. According to informed consent provisions, the healthcare provider should provide accurate information to the patient or their representative. This helps to make informed decisions regarding the care to be provided. To facilitate informed consent, healthcare professionals should educate the patient about a particular intervention or procedure’s benefits, alternatives, and risks (Ari, 2020). The healthcare provider should also ensure that the patient can make voluntary decisions on whether to proceed with the medical intervention. Healthcare professionals should also practice distributive justice to ensure that all patients are treated equitably and fairly. This means that nursing officers should not only treat all patients in a particular situation the same but also respect the rights of these patients. According to the policies and laws of healthcare, professionals in the sector are required to establish easy access to healthcare resources. Additionally, healthcare providers can protect and uphold patients’ rights by ensuring the patient-provider fiduciary relationship. In this case, the healthcare provider should act to serve the patient’s best interests (Vergallo et al., 2021). The healthcare expert can also integrate informative and deliberative relationships to serve the client’s best interest. In informative correlation, the doctor helps the patient to make the most appropriate decision without luring them to a particular choice. On the other hand, a deliberative relationship is cultivated when the patient and the doctor collaborate to achieve the goals of the patent while preserving the values of both parties. Another strategy that healthcare providers can use to uphold autonomy is listening to patient’s concerns and then, based on that information, giving the patient the necessary information to enable them to participate in decision-making.
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