Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice Essay

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Running head: APPLYING ETHICAL FRAMEWORKS








Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice













Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice
Patient confidentiality is a cornerstone of today’s healthcare system.   Both the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association have policies and guidelines regarding patient privacy and confidentiality.   Unfortunately, it is not always as simple as following policy.   Confidentiality is a major source of ethical dilemmas for health care professionals.   There are some legitimate reasons for breaching a patient’s confidence but there can be some considerable consequences as well.   This paper will use the article by Pamela Nelson entitled “BIOETHICS ON NBC'S ER: Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care? When is it okay to break confidentiality?” as an example of an ethical dilemma involving patient confidentiality.   Luckily for today’s healthcare workers we have several ethical frameworks to guide us and we can ask for the assistance of an ethics committee when we are faced with an ethical dilemma that involves patient confidentiality.
Why is Patient Confidentiality Important?
Confidentiality is one of the ethical principles in health care.   It is defined as “holding information entrusted in the context of special relationships (such as with a patient or friend) as confidential” (Grand Canyon University: Module 2 Readings, n. d.).   Maintaining patient confidentiality has many benefits for health care workers.   It supports a trusting relationship, encourages open communication, and allows the health care worker to form a meaningful relationship with his or her patient.   The knowledge that the information disclosed will remain private encourages the patient to be open and honest and this allows the nurse or physician to make better medical decisions regarding the treatment of the patient.
Breaching Patient Confidentiality: Consequences
When confidentiality is breached the trust that...

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