Principles of Confidentiality, Ethical Theories, and a Presented Case Study on the Z Family and the Practitioner's Ethical Decisions

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A. Introduction

This paper will look at the principles of confidentiality, ethical theories, and a presented case study on the Z family and the practitioners’ ethical decisions. It will provide a better understanding of how moral and ethical situations can be approached by the practitioner, and giving examples and theories that can be put into practice in difficult decisions.

B. Ethical Theory

The importance of ethical theory plays a large role in nursing practices. It is often difficult to understand where the lines of confidentiality should be drawn, so in order to help decipher the feelings nurse practitioners have of what they consider to be fair or unfair, there are a number of ethical theories that can be used in order to understand a problem (McGowen, 2012). Morally, each individual has their own personal compass, but in terms of medical practice, there needs to be a unanimous understanding of what constitutes correct behavior for the best interests of the patient.

Practices such as Utilitarianism, Deontology/Kantianism, Virtue Ethics and Moral Particularism all play a vital role when it comes to understanding the application of rules and consequences in nursing practice. Each theory has a specific approach for dealing with ethical issues. For example, Deontological looks at what an individual must do, based on their job descriptions and obligations to both the hospital and patients (Slowther et al, 2004). Another example is Virtue ethics, which can be viewed as the method of what nurses’ feel is the correct way to behave when working with both patients and colleagues (Slowther et al, 2004). Without these practices, there would be no trust established between patients and practitioners, which would be a detriment to ...

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...2012. Retrieved May 13, 2014 from

National Institute for Health Research (2013). “Key Principles of Confidentiality”. Careers and Confidentiality. August 7, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2014 from

Sankor, P., Mora, S., Merz, J., Jones, N. (2003). “Patient Perspectives of Medical Confidentiality”. NCBI. J Gen Intern Med. Aug 2003; 18(8): 659–669.doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.20823.x. Retrieved May 14, 2014 from

Slowther A, Johnston C, Goodall J, Hope T (2004) “A Practical Guide for Clinical Ethics

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