Ethics Inventory

Ethics Inventory

Think about a recent ethical challenge you encountered in practice.

• What signals you to an ethical challenge? Intellectual disconnect? Queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach? Discomfort or disappointment in the way you or your team are responding? Yuck factor?

• Pay attention to how you reason as you think about how you should and would respond.

• What informs your judgment? Rephrased, how do you calibrate your moral compass?

• Are there moral rules that apply?

• Do you have a responsibility to respond? Are you personally able and willing to respond? Are there institutional or other external variables making it difficult or impossible to respond?

• What counts as a good response? What criteria/principles do you use to inform, justify, and evaluate your response?

• Promotes human dignity and the common good

• Maximizes good and minimizes harm

• Justly distributes goods and harms

• Respects rights

• Responsive to vulnerabilities

• Promotes virtue

• Compatible with Code of Ethics for Nurses

• Other

• What criteria/principles do you use to critique/evaluate your response?

• We stayed out of trouble, not greatly inconvenienced.

• We made money or at the very least didn’t lose money!

• Our patient satisfaction scores will be high, or at least not negative

• Able to put my head on my pillow and fall asleep peacefully

• My/our reputation is intact.

• Transparency [Washington Post test; I could share how I/we responded with my children and feel proud.]

• Consistency

• Other

• Are there any universal (nonnegotiable) moral obligations that obligate all health care professionals?

• To whom would you turn if you were uncertain about how to proceed?

• What agency resources exist to help you think through and secure a good response? How confident are you that these resources would facilitate a good resolution of your concern?

• Can you translate your moral judgments about how best to respond into action? If you believe that institutional or other variables are making it impossible to do what you believe is the ethically right thing to do, what are your options?


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