Today’s health sector offers a variety of specialties, which has, in some manner, aided in providing quality services. Healthcare provision includes various activities, including disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, carried out by a range of healthcare workers in different sectors. Patients often get treatments in multiple settings, including acute-care hospitals, long-term care facilities, and surgical centers. Furthermore, most of these healthcare systems have numerous techniques for performing their daily tasks, and each of them provides an ethical code of conduct that serves as a standard for carrying out tasks correctly. One strategy to guarantee that health problems are handled in line with federal and state standards, as well as the policies and protocols of the employer, is to create an ethical code of conduct in a clinical setting. An ethical code is important within a hospital environment since it specifies the moral principles that guide the executives in their various professional engagements.
Accordingly, the ethical code of conduct in acute-care facilities is regarded as a standard for professional behavior. It involves a set of behavioral expectations that everyone, notably healthcare personnel connected to the facility, must comply with. This code of conduct is crucial for all healthcare personnel since it prevents staff and the institution from making critical mistakes. As a result, the ethical code of conduct must be upheld by all health workers, as it can improve the integrity of the healthcare sector. The emphasis will be on the code of conduct in acute-care health institutions for people in management, support positions, and professional healthcare employees to clarify the concept.
Background of Acute-Care Facility
The acute-care hospital Crenshaw Community Hospital (CCH) is situated in Luverne, Alabama, United States. With more than 170 employees, the hospital has a 65-bed capacity. The organization’s primary function is to provide prompt, efficient care in medical emergency rooms. When a patient requires immediate medical attention, it implies that they need acute care. This course of action may be taken concerning a severe episode brought by a chronic illness, trauma, or when recovering from surgery, among other things. To make sure that the service plan meets the requirements and demands of a client who requires short-term care, the doctor, care team, and relatives are all involved in its development.
Acute care services are often provided by medical experts for a brief period and include both diagnosis and treatment for clients. Emergency department admissions for low-acuity diseases (infections, mild injuries) decreased by 36% from 2008 to 2015, based on 2018 research published in JAMA Internal Medicine (Poon et al., 2018). While this unfolded, visits to urgent care centers and other acute care institutions increased by 140%. (Poon et al., 2018). A facility’s acute care is often delivered by a range of clinical staff employing sophisticated tools, medications, and medical supplies. Crenshaw Community Hospital offers both medical and surgical healthcare services. The majority of these amenities may also include ambulatory services and emergency procedures. Comfortable and elegant rooms, activity spaces, laundry assistance, personal linen organized excursions, and entertainment are some excellent examples of the services offered by the facility. The senior management team of Crenshaw Community Hospital makes it possible for the hospital to provide facility- and community-based activities and services in various parts of the region.
Organization Structure of the Facility and Duties of Those in Management and Professional Staff
Board of Directors
Every hospital, especially acute-care institutions, has a governing council that is in charge of making critical choices for the hospital as a whole. The board of directors, the highest level of authority in the hospital, is composed of experts in each of their specialized professions. The hospital board of directors is a crucial player in managerial decisions that impact the hospital’s success in providing excellent financial performance and high-quality medical treatment. Their choices have an effect on the facility’s financial stability as well as the level of healthcare services provided. For instance, they could create short- and long-term organizational expenditures that include salary standards for each position.
The daily activities of the hospital department organization are managed by department administrators, who answer to the hospital executives. The administrators’ primary responsibilities are managing and supervising workers, carrying out administrative activities, and monitoring patient care. The administrator is committed to providing the staff with the necessary amount of direction as part of staff administration. They confer with them on various difficulties or topics related to resident care. Working collaboratively with the hospital’s executive director to complete important activities, including budget planning, service policy evaluation, and staff schedule development, are other administrative responsibilities. To ensure assurance, overseeing patient care entails monitoring several department heads and dealing closely with other personnel.
Patient Care Managers
Patient care managers include both supervising physicians and nurse managers. By sharing their goals for the unit’s advancement toward excellence, nurse managers inspire the workers on their units. Nurse managers operate as the unit’s change agents and make choices that direct the team’s operations. They collaborate closely inside their division to energize, excite and engage administrators, division employees, and clients. Nurse supervisors monitor adherence to standards and provide coaching to staff members who fall below expected standards. To choose the most recent care guidelines and organize how to give them to their clients, nurse managers collaborate with their medical coworkers. The supervising physician is in charge of overseeing the physician aid and making sure that the healthcare responsibilities are carried out by the physician assistant within the limits of their education and expertise. These people oversee small teams of healthcare providers who work closely with patients. They ensure that instructions are followed, that hospital staff members are performing their tasks appropriately, and that staff members abide by the law.
Doctors and Nurses
The physicians’ primary duty is to improve clinical outcomes and pharmacological therapy for every patient in the hospital. Additionally, they must perform other professional tasks such as patient evaluation, medication review, therapeutic plan development, monitoring effectiveness, and improving drug adherence. The physicians also make sure that specific populations inside the hospital, including the elderly, are provided with the required assistance when receiving medication. They might also need to respond to other medical emergencies. Interacting with patients and their families is one of the Nurses’ duties. They must do a complete evaluation of the clients and if feasible, conduct interviews with them to understand their unique requirements before moving forward with administering any type of treatment. Along with their other duties, nurses at CCH are also responsible for providing clients with the right degree of guidance and support, particularly those who have trouble making decisions about their health.
Laundry Workers and Cleaners
Workers at the laundry are responsible for tasks including washing and drying patient garments. A broad range of duties is assigned to cleaners within the building, including constant upkeep of cleanliness. Additionally, they ensure that the patients receive the necessary amount of assistance and that other essential supplies are available. They are helped with everything, including bathing. Along with executing any other tasks that the facility management may allocate, the cleaners are mainly charged with cleaning the facility.
Possible Ethical Dilemmas That May Be Encountered
At Crenshaw Community Hospital, respect for patient autonomy is a frequent ethical dilemma that may be encountered. Even if medical treatment may cause death, the patient has the legal right to decline it. Healthcare professionals must determine patients’ mental capacity before inquiring about their preferences. When a client is temporarily unconscious and emergency care is not required, it is best to wait until the client regains consciousness and speak with them directly about a substantial intervention that has been suggested (Skowron, 2019). Although it may cause the workers some inconvenience, this is the drawback of upholding the autonomy concept. Usually, the only circumstances in which the priority of patient autonomy is not upheld are when a person is a minor or is incapable of making an informed decision. Nurses and other healthcare providers should try their best to inform patients about the consequences of their choices when their preferences conflict with those of medical experts, but they should ultimately accept the patient’s choices.
The choice of whether to disclose the gravity of a patient’s illness presents healthcare professionals with another ethical dilemma. The decision to withhold information from patients is made by doctors and nurses, who weigh whether doing so will put the patient under excessive stress or do more damage than good. Zhang & Min (2020) assert that it is currently accepted practice for patients to have accurate information about their diagnosis and treatment plan. However, nurses frequently find themselves forced to choose between providing the patient with information that can increase their level of distress and providing generalized responses to alleviate their anxiety. The most crucial point for caregivers to remember is that patients have a right to understand their diagnosis and the likelihood that any proposed therapy would be successful or unsuccessful (Zhang & Min, 2020). The initial disclosure of the patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan is the doctor’s responsibility. However, nurses are more frequently in direct contact with their patients and are often approached for an explanation. Therefore, it is vital to provide thoughtful and complete responses to queries.
Ethical Standards for Those in Governance, Management, and Professional Staff
Ethical standards are considered instruments created to build and establish the necessary degree of respect and integrity within a facility. Additionally, it is a collection of guidelines describing the acts and conduct required in specific working contexts. According to Ekman (2022), ethical norms are crucial in acute care hospitals since they aid in the process of bringing together management, governance, and professional healthcare workers. This is often accomplished by outlining a set of standards everyone employed by an organization is expected to observe.
The board of management is in charge of overseeing Crenshaw Community Hospital’s management. This board is expected to uphold specific moral and ethical principles. Individuals in governance are expected to be the facility’s loyal advocates. Health workers must collaborate closely with the management team to guarantee that patients’ rights and psychological needs are satisfied. The board is also tasked with identifying opportunities and improvements that may influence short-term care facilities, such as new laws, regulations, and other initiatives.
The institution’s management must do administrative tasks to address the patients’ requirements. The management group must recognize that every person under their control is aware of and complies with the ethical code of conduct. They are in charge of creating and maintaining a welcoming, healthy workplace that values professionalism, cooperation, and collaboration (Morley & Cashell, 2017). Finally, the management must examine any action that breaches the organization’s code of ethics. Furthermore, they must constantly provide documentation that enables equivalent responses and improvements to potential problems.
Similar to management, healthcare professionals working in acute care institutions are expected to uphold and abide by several ethical standards. The principles of the acute care institutions where they work must be respected by all members of the healthcare professional personnel. For instance, they need to be creative, provide top-notch treatment, work well in teams, and respect both their patients and one another. All professional staff personnel in acute care healthcare facilities must safeguard the hospital’s resources. They must strive to offer high-quality patient treatment, education, and research to support their patients. These concepts can assist in acting professionally and honestly while upholding high ethical standards. At the same time, these values can assist in conducting oneself in a professional, honest, and ethical manner.
Ways of Implementing the Ethical Code of Conduct and Ensuring Compliance
The dissemination of rules and regulations to all employees is a necessary step in putting an ethical code of conduct into place. Senior management of acute care institutions is in charge of making sure that all moral norms are recognized and put into practice (Olejarczyk & Young, 2022). In any acute care center, the human resource department is regarded as the primary keeper of the code of ethics. In this situation, they must ensure that every medical staff member adheres to the code of conduct in all their activities, both within and outside the hospital. As a result, it is crucial to create an advisory board whose responsibility is to guarantee that everyone abides by the code of conduct. Such a committee must include members from many departments to ensure justice and equality. For instance, the advisory panel must consist of members from the governance team, legal team, human resources department, and medical affairs, among others. The committee must assess the ethical codes of conduct at acute care hospitals yearly to ensure they are still serving the organization’s overall goals.
To guarantee that every employee understands the code, training is also essential. The management team might go through the ethical code and other ethical standards during training sessions to apply the code to existing staff (Rosen et al., 2018). The management might use the induction training as an opportunity to introduce the code to new workers. The administration can incorporate the code of conduct in the induction booklet and other crucial facts about the institution. This makes sure that new employees are aware of the facility’s necessary ethical standards. A notice board might serve as a reminder by posting a description of the ethical code. At key areas across the facility, sections of the code of conduct can also be displayed. The facility management can also make the code online for staff members to complete the criteria at their leisure. However, a timeframe should be established to guarantee that the training is completed on time.
In addition, everyone bound by the ethical code of conduct is expected to ensure understanding and compliance. In this situation, each health worker must ensure they abide by all organizational values and principles. Maintaining an institution’s ethical standards benefits workers and patients abundantly (Rosen et al., 2018). Due to this, it is essential to note that establishing a code of conduct and upholding it is crucial for an acute care institution to succeed in providing high-quality services.
Consequences of Failing to Uphold the Ethical Code of Conduct
Employees of acute-care facilities who violate ethics face professional repercussions, which may even result in the closure of the facility. The code mandates that everyone act by the institution’s ethical code of conduct. More specifically, this entails adhering to all of the moral code’s guiding principles, directives, and other terms and conditions. All healthcare practitioners must report any improper behavior by anybody within the institution.
As stated in the institution’s ethical code of conduct, failure to disclose such instances breaches other ethical standards, such as the behavior policy. The study done by Ekman (2022) highlights that failure to abide by an institution’s ethical code of conduct can result in significant or hefty sanctions. Additionally, the facility’s ethical code of conduct applies to any member of the staff who is a healthcare worker. According to this viewpoint, everyone has a responsibility to uphold the code and notify management of any violations, to name just a few. To put it another way, everyone and all the time must refrain from engaging in any unlawful actions or unethical behaviors as outlined by the ethical code of conduct. It is important to note that every organization is required to have a disciplinary body that engages with those who transgress the organization’s ethical standards.
Any unlawful or unethical action must be reported without fear of retaliation, persecution, or other negative effects on a healthcare professional. In addition, Rushton and Edvardsson (2017) state that any measures taken in retaliation for or against any skilled healthcare worker who discloses activities that breach the ethical code of conduct should be prohibited. Any person engaged in such a matter must appear before the disciplinary committee as well to determine the potential sanctions. Less serious offenses are typically met with verbal warnings and reprimands to ensure they do not occur again. On the other hand, serious violations may result in job suspension or termination (Papinaho et al., 2019). When resolving ethical concerns at the Crenshaw Community Hospital, management refers to the ethical code of agreement signed by the staff. The agreement describes in detail the penalties for numerous ethical breaches. The Board of Management is often called together to take responsibility if a representative of the management is responsible for an ethical infraction.
In conclusion, it is clear that Crenshaw Community Hospital, an acute-care medical institution, can offer the necessary degree of specialized treatment that caters to a client’s interests, capabilities, and requirements. The ability of Crenshaw Community Hospital to provide high-quality treatment that fulfills the needs of every person residing in the facility may be partially attributed to the organization’s adherence to a well-established ethical code of conduct. Following the rules and guidelines specified in the code of conduct makes it simpler for various personnel, including doctors and the care team, to manage and attend to the requirements of all persons who require acute-care intervention. The availability of experienced professional employees in every section of the hospital is another factor contributing to its capacity to provide exceptional services.
It is significant to remember that every healthcare facility, especially acute care hospitals, encounters ethical issues occasionally. In this instance, healthcare professionals must handle these circumstances, regardless of the setting. At this stage, everyone who works in these institutions must adhere to the code of conduct. Everyone must verify that the ethical code is upheld, including those who work in management and governance. Any actions of retribution that target a person who discloses unethical conduct are unacceptable, regardless of the degree of management or expertise a person in the healthcare context may have. Any staff member involved in this situation is subject to the proper disciplinary measures, which may include dismissal from their position and revocation of all privileges inside the specific healthcare setting. As a result, the core principles of a healthcare institution must always be strategies to assist patients in full recovery while valuing professionalism and providing high-quality healthcare services.
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