In my nursing experience, the greatest ethical dilemma that I experienced was maintaining the confidentiality of patients who are minors. Working with children in the treatment process presents a unique set of medical issues in the medical practice CITATION Tre04 \l 1033 (Pediatrics Child Health, 2004). This is because a nurse is obligated to balance the wishes of a minor patient and the interest in the minors recovery process CITATION Jac14 \l 1033 (Jackson, Burns, & Richter, 2014). As such, some personal information that such minor patients offered me, relevant to their treatment, put me in an ethical dilemma on whether to inform their parents. This was contrary to their right to anonymity while attaining treatment.
Lessons Learned from the Ethical Dilemma Experience
From the ethical dilemma experience, I learned that while minors do have some fundamental rights to privacy, according to law, a nursing practitioner should disclose certain information about the minors to their treatment to parents. However, such information should only be that pertaining the condition being treated in the minor. In most cases, such are also the information that minors would not like disclosed by the nursing practitioner to other persons. I also learned that to learn how to handle such ethical dilemma experiences in the future; I needed to learn and understand the law pertaining privacy and anonymity rights of minors in the medical practice. Also, understanding the laws and policies of a medical institution can also help in evaluating the right information pertaining a minor patient that should be disclosed to his/her parents/guardian.
Reflection On a Patient Experience Where There Was a Health Disparity
A few months ago, I was treating a patient who had Type 1 diabetes. The patient told me that he lived in a low-income neighborhood where there were no grocery stores in proximity to his place of residence. However, there were plenty of fast food establishments in the region. In most cases, the patient found it easier to have all his meals at such establishments. Consequently, after a long time of poor eating behavior, the patient attained morbid obesity. Moreover, from his diagnosis, it was evident that his diabetic condition occurred due to his obese state. In this experience, the health disparity was a lack of information pertaining appropriate eating habits to avoid health complications.
Evaluation of an Opportunity Where I Could Have Eliminated the Patients Health Disparity
A few months after treating the patient, I contacted the patient to know whether he was keeping up with the exercise regimen I had recommended to him during treatment. The patient stated that he maintained regular exercises by walking around his neighborhood park for two hours every day. However, the patient did not change his poor eating pattern, through avoiding fatty foods from the nearby fast food restaurants. As a result, his weight continued to increase, and his diabetic condition worsened. The patient later succumbed to the two medical conditions five weeks later. Upon evaluating of my treatment to the patient, I realized that I could have referred the patient to a dietician. Such a professional would have helped the patient to plan his meals, to manage his obese and diabetic condition.
What to Do Differently in the Future Provided Under a Similar
In the future, under a similar situation, I would refer a patient to a food professional who would provide the patient with sufficient knowledge on the importance of having healthy diets to manage medical conditions. Through such knowledge, the patient would able to combine the treatment and the exercise regimens with appropriate eating behavior. This way, it would be possible to manage such a patients medical condition, if suffering from conditions such as diabetes or obesity among others.
Jackson, M. K., Burns, K. K., & Richter, M. S. (2014). Confidentiality and treatment decisions of minor clients: a health professionals dilemma & policy makers challenge. Springerplus, 3(320). doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-320
Pediatrics Child Health. (2004). Treatment decisions regarding infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics Child Health, 9(2), 99-103.
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