Workplace Ethical Dilemma

I have often thought of myself as a good person. My parents raised me to respect my elders, be kind to animals and children, and to say always please. These are good qualities for a person to have, but it is important to know why people have these qualities. Showing common courtesy to someone may make an impact in that person’s day, but in the workplace common courtesy, especially unwarranted can lead to trouble. Every workplace has a code of conduct and ethics followed by all their employees. It is in the best interest of the employee to become familiar with his or her own workplace code of conduct and ethics.

The difference between code of conduct and code of ethics is that a code of conduct is physical, and a code of ethics is mental. Code of conduct refers to one’s actions and code of ethics is related more to one’s morality. For example: You work at a company, and you become enraged with a coworker and hit him or her. Your conduct is your action-the hitting. If you believed the way you react when you are upset is wrong that would be your ethics. If you were to apply this to a business setting the ethics would be in the company believing that this behavior is not acceptable. In 2009, I was employed by a hospital as a housekeeper.

My title was Support Associate. The duties of the job included cleaning and maintain the unit that was assigned to me for the day. One day as I was performing my duties, I came across a patient who was complaining of chest pains and asked me to get his nurse. I stopped what I was doing and went to the nurse’s station and asked for the nurse who was in charge of the patient in room “A”. I found the nurse who was in charge of the patient in room “A” and told her that her patient was complaining of chest pains and was asking for her.

The nurse shrugged me off and said to me the patient has been complaining all morning, and he will be fine. I left the nurse’s station and went back to the patient’s room and told him his nurse will be there shortly. I continued to clean my unit and within 10 minutes there was a code red alert on my unit. I saw all the doctors and nurses running toward the room were the man was complaining of chest pains. I believed the patient needed assistance. I wanted to help, but there was nothing I could do. As the doctors and nurses were working on the patient, I could hear the machinery go off and I heard it when the patient flat lined and died.

I saw the family of the patient walking down the hall and I went to meet them and tell him or she happened. Later that day as I was getting ready to go home for the day, my supervisor calls me into her office. The director of the hospital, the head of human resources, and my union rep is in the office, and they all question me about the incident and what did I tell the family. I told them everything I could remember. I was told I was in violation of the HIPAA act and Patient Confidentiality. I was reprimanded for my actions, and suspended from work for two weeks without pay.

I thought I was helping by letting the patient’s family knows the events leading to his or her family member’s death. I realize how my actions, can be a breach of a patient’s privacy rule, and it could have led to lawsuits against the hospital. According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, it requires appreciate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information and set limits and conditions on the use and disclosure that may be made of such information without patient authorization.

It establishes national standard to protect individuals medical records and other personal health information. The American Medical Association (AMA), “Confidentiality is the right of an individual to have personal, identifiable medical information kept private. Such information should be available only to the physician of record and other health care and insurance personnel as necessary. ” I realized I overstepped my bounds by informing the family and I put the hospital in an awkward position.

I had to attend a HIPAA meeting and be testing on the code of conduct for hospital housekeepers. Attending the HIPAA meeting and taking the test was very informative and helpful. I am still a people person and I love to help people, but there has to be boundaries regarding how far I am willing to go to help someone. If helping a client or patient violates his or her right to privacy, by helping them I may cause more harm than good. With this the code of ethics plays a part. We should know right from wrong, but in the workplace it is not just about right or wrong, it is about our thinking.

If I applied critical thinking to my situation, there probably would not have been a suspension or reproof. Knowing what I know now, I still believe I did the right thing I would do it again, except I would not have approach the family and given them information about their family member. It was not my place, nor my job to break the confidentiality and the privacy of the patient. Every workplace has a code of ethics that must be followed by all employees. When one violates a code he or she has to be held responsible for their conduct.

In some workplaces, a violation of the code of ethics can lead to an employee’s reproof, suspension, and in some cases termination. The experience I went through has taught me that if I am faced with a similar situation I should ask myself how my action would benefit the patient/client. It would also be helpful in my decision-making to ask my superior for their input on how to best handle the situation. References http://www. localbizarticles. com http://www. bmc. org Fogel, B. S.. “Med-psych units”, General Hospital Psychiatry, 198901 http://voicelessness. com http://www. themedicalcenter. org.

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