It is the study of what is morally right or wrong, just or unjust, that falls under the purview of ethics, which investigates the rational explanation for our moral judgments. In a more general sense, ethics is a reflection on human beings and their interactions with nature and with other humans, as well as on issues of freedom, responsibility, and fairness.
The moral compass that directs us to speak the truth, maintain our word, and assist those in need is called ethics (Mizzoni, 2017). Our daily lives are guided by a code of ethics, which provides guidance for making decisions that will have a good influence on us. This prevents consequences from actions that are not just. There is a distinction to be made between law and ethics. An individual determines a set of moral ideals for one’s own behavior and for one’s own actions, and this is the definition of ethics. Laws are codified sets of regulations that are employed in the process of governing a whole society.
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A contrast can be made between administrative and biomedical ethical issues. The topic of “Administrative Ethical Issues” addresses potential conflicts of interest as well as ethical concerns involving personnel, patients, and the community. On the other side, “Biomedical Ethical Issues” refers to topics like consent, death and dying, patient autonomy, and physician-assisted suicide (Garcia, 2020). These are only a few of the topics that are included. When it comes to matters pertaining to biomedical ethics, the academic field of ethics focuses on finding solutions to moral dilemmas that surface during the course of medical practice and the conduct of biomedical research. It is possible for physicians to constantly face ethical conundrums in their interpersonal connections with patients as well as in the judgments that institutions and societies make regarding healthcare policy.
The focus of administrative ethics is on morally sound guidelines that specify what public administrators should do in terms of their obligations to the public interest, as well as their obligations to uphold certain values, virtues, and social advantages. This category of ethics handles questions of responsibility between the public and the administration as one of its key roles (Cooper, 2019). Accountability between the public and the government is provided through ethics. Following a code of ethics makes ensuring that the public is treated fairly and gets what it needs. Additionally, it provides the administration with standards for operating honestly.
Specific steps can be followed toward managers’ problem-solving methodology. The first step is by defining the problem at hand. After discovering the problem, the next step is getting clarity on the problem, especially by considering when it started and for how long it has been going on (Van Aken & Berends, 2018). The third step is looking for potential reasons for the issue, which will help an individual in finding its root cause. The fourth phase is to create a plan of action. Make a list of actions needed to treat the core cause and keep the problem from spreading to others. The fifth step is executing the action plan upon making it. The sixth step is evaluating the results. Evaluating results to gauge if goals have been attained is one of the increasingly essential aspects. Finally, the last step is to continuously improve. This instance can be enhanced by looking for more opportunities to implement diverse solutions.
A full ethical audit should be performed regularly, such as every 3-5 years, depending on the needs of the business, with more frequent periodic assessments (for example, an annual examination of any changes to external legal standards). This comprehensive audit is performed regularly to assess written criteria (such as a code of ethics) or the effectiveness of training or preventive aid programs (Tugui et al., 2020). The first step is to determine the ethical audit’s Scope of Work. Ensure that there is a “meeting of the minds” between those who are seeking the ethical audit (for example, in terms of the detail of the review and the final product) and the individuals who will be conducting the audit. If there is an accusation of a legal infraction, legal counsel should always be involved. The second step is to understand and test the nonprofit’s values. Those participating should also be familiar with the existing norms or ideals to which the organization adheres. The third phase is to analyze and document the results, as well as to take any necessary action steps. After gathering material and completing an analysis, ensure that the report reaches its intended audience and that the organization is dedicated to following through, or else the time and attention spent on the ethics audit will be wasted.
Under the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), HC executives have an inferable professional responsibility to act virtuously by avoiding corruption, conflicts of interest, and abuse of staff within the confines of HCOs. In essence, HC executives’ roles revolve around fostering and safeguarding the interests, rights, and prerogatives of others served and patients by acting as moral advocates, which entails taking the necessary actions to foster the prerogatives, interests, and rights (Zambrano, 2019). Furthermore, as moral models, executives in the healthcare sector should ensure that their actions and decisions demonstrate ethical leadership as well as personal integrity, which is frequently emulated by others. Healthcare executives must model the profession’s core principles both individually and within their organizations. This includes embodying the qualities of honor, integrity, and ethics, as well as developing and implementing a self-improvement and life-long learning program.
Another responsibility for healthcare leaders is to develop and promote a professional culture within their organizations by creating an environment in which all employees can do their best and by collaborating with other organizations, state and local government, and the communities they serve to improve community health. These professionals must create a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration within their organizations as well as with other organizations. They must also actively participate in collaborative activities with public health and other governmental agencies, healthcare systems, and organizations.
The obligation to act in the best interests of a person or organization is the best way to describe fiduciary duty. Healthcare professionals, like managers in other industries, are constantly faced with the quandary of whether or not to admit possibly hazardous errors to unsuspecting customers and patients (Masege & Dhai, 2020). The Fiduciary Relationship refers to a relationship in which one person is obligated to act in the best interests of another. In other words, a manager’s primary obligation or duty in a fiduciary relationship is to act in the best interests of the shareholders. A fiduciary has two responsibilities: loyalty and care.
Fiduciaries must act in the best interests of their beneficiaries, balance the competing interests of different beneficiaries impartially, avoid conflicts of interest, and not act for the advantage of themselves or a third party. The highest level of care is the fiduciary duty. It is always acting in the best interests of the client or beneficiary, even if those decisions run counter to your own (Bartley, 2020). All elements of the physician-patient relationship are subject to fiduciary duty. In this role, the doctor has a moral obligation to act as a gatekeeper, protecting the patient’s well-being and admitting his complicity in any interventions.
A conflict of interest occurs when a person or entity becomes untrustworthy due to a conflict between individual (or self-serving) preferences and professional duties or responsibilities. A board member of a property insurance company, for example, might vote on the introduction of lower premiums for companies with fleet vehicles—despite the fact that they own a truck company (Anderson, 2018). Hiring a non-qualified relative to just provide services to the company requires is another prime example of a conflict of interest. In an ideal world, failing to disclose that you are related to a job candidate whom the company is considering hiring would also fall into this category.
Fundamental ethical issues confronting managers include promoting integrity and trust-based behavior, but more complicated problems include accommodating diversity, compassionate decision-making, and governance and compliance that are coherent with the organization’s core values. An ethical quandary may also arise at work when a circumstance that ultimately benefits an employee also has an impact on the company. Employees are required by the company’s code of conduct to act in the best interests of their employer rather than for personal gain.
In looking at the case study involving Baby K, it is correct to imply that this situation is an ethical dilemma since the doctors are obligated to ensure that children with anencephaly do not stay alive for long, but instead, there is the belief that life is precious and should not just be taken away. However, despite this ethical dilemma, the aspect of respect for persons was upheld by this healthcare organization (Rainer et al., 2018). This instance can be depicted by how the hospital and doctors were autonomous in their decision-making, a factor that played an influential role in ensuring that the baby was kept alive. From this situation, it is evident and transparently clear that the doctors in this hospital act beneficently. There were several negligible signs of paternalism at first from the physicians but it faded upon the decision-making. The physicians also acted in nonmaleficence since there was no harm that was done to the newborn child. Finally, the hospital acted in a just way.
Anderson, J. (2018, March). The ethics of silence: Does conflict of interest explain employee silence?. In Healthcare Management Forum (Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 66-68). Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.
Bartley, G. B. (2020). Verifying surgical competence: our fiduciary responsibility. Ophthalmology, 127(8), 997-999.
Cooper, T. L. (2019). The emergence of administrative ethics as a field of study in the United States. In Handbook of administrative ethics (pp. 1-36). Routledge.
Garcia, J. L. (2020, July). Virtues and principles in biomedical ethics. In The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine (Vol. 45, No. 4-5, pp. 471-503). US: Oxford University Press.
Masege, D., & Dhai, A. (2020). Managed healthcare: Treatment protocols and fiduciary duties of funders. South African Journal of Bioethics and Law, 13(2), 129-132.
Mizzoni, J. (2017). Ethics: the basics. John Wiley & Sons.
Rainer, J., Schneider, J. K., & Lorenz, R. A. (2018). Ethical dilemmas in nursing: An integrative review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(19-20), 3446-3461.
Tugui, A., Agheorghiesei, D. T., & Asandului, L. (2020). An Informal Ethics Auditing in Authorized Valuation for Business Sustainability in Romania. Sustainability, 12(20), 8562.
Van Aken, J. E., & Berends, H. (2018). Problem solving in organizations. Cambridge university press.
Zambrano, R. H. (2019). The value and imperative of diversity leadership development and mentoring in healthcare. Journal of Healthcare Management, 64(6), 356-358.