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Applying Ethical Principles

Applying Ethical Principles

The complexities of clinical presentations require sound and informed clinical decision-making to navigate. Some decisions, however, maintain ambiguity, often presenting a clinical dilemma to the caregivers. Ethical decision-making models provide a framework to which these dilemmas can be solved. These models provide a mechanism for critical thinking, reasoning, and planning to resolve these clinical ethical dilemmas. This paper seeks to analyze a moral problem presented in a case study (To Vaccinate or Not) using the components of the ethical decision-making model.

Overview of the Case Study: To Vaccinate or Not

The case study depicts a clinical scenario where two parents, Jenna and Chris Smith, do not want their 5-day-old daughter Ana to be vaccinated. In the case study, Jenna and Chris express their desire to raise their child naturally, including not getting her vaccinated. According to the parents, vaccines have been linked with autism spectrum disorder, and the benefits attributed to vaccinations do not outweigh their risks. They claim to have done a lot of research on the issue and concluded that vaccines are not suitable for their daughter and that they would not consider it despite medical community recommendations on vaccinations. Jenna and Chris present their case to Dr. Kerr, their pediatrician, citing how they have done online research, including reading articles from mommy-blog that link autism spectrum disorder to vaccines.

Dr Kerr listens to their case carefully and recommends that they allow their child to take vaccines. She also explains to them that vaccines have saved millions of lives across the globe despite recent controversies. Dr. Kerr also endorses the general safety of vaccines, stating that the security of vaccines has been documented and that information on vaccine safety is updated regularly via data resources obtained from the CDC and FDA. She finishes by telling them that vaccines have enabled the attainment of immunity that has protected children with weakened immunity. Jenna and Smith confirmed to the doctor that they understood the significance of vaccines, as she explained, but they still maintain that they do not want their child to be vaccinated.

Analysis of the Case Study

Dr Kerr is surprised by the parent’s decision and is dilemma about what to do. She is experiencing an ethical difficulty over the best clinical decision for Jenna and Smith, who deny their daughter access to vaccinations. The three components of the ethical decision-making process include moral awareness, moral judgment, and ethical behaviour. Moral awareness defines the intrinsic individual’s ability to identify a moral anomaly in a situation. Moral judgment refers to formulating and evaluating morally justified possible solutions to the moral issue identified.

On the other hand, ethical behaviour involves committing to one of the many possible morally justified actions and using the action to solve the ethical problem (Park, 2017). Dr Kerr’s moral awareness is exhibited by her ability to recognize that Ana’s parents are concerned with vaccines and that the issue is informing their decision to vaccinate their daughter. Dr. Kerr also exhibits moral judgment by explaining to Jenna and Smith the importance of taking vaccines and recommending that they should vaccinate their daughter. Dr Kerr’s ethical behaviour is reflected in the course of action she chooses to solve the problem. She is, however, still in a dilemma on the appropriate action to take on the case.

Several factors are contributory to the dilemma Dr. Kerr faces. Jenna and Smith’s desire to raise their child naturally is one factor that informed their reluctance towards vaccinations. Additionally, Jenna and Smith have a negative perception of vaccinations, claiming that vaccines cause Autism spectrum disorder. These factors have made them reluctant to have their daughter get vaccinated. Dr Kerr is now facing two-parent clients who do not want their daughter vaccinated despite understanding the significance of vaccines in health preservation.

Application of Peer-Reviewed Journal

Fernbach, 2017 discusses the ethical dilemmas nurse practitioners face when parents refuse to immunize their children. This article is a systematic review targeted at discussing these ethical dilemmas. The author indicates that nurse practitioners are responsible for building trust in vaccines and should be able to attempt to convince hesitant parents that vaccinating their children is essential to their children and society. Nurses and other caregivers should be at the forefront of providing truthful information to parents. This article replicates the case study presented (Fernbach, 2017). In both cases, caregivers face ethical dilemmas due to parents’ hesitance about vaccinating their children. They should, however, consider the ethical principles of beneficence, autonomy, and non-maleficence when making this clinical decision.

Effectiveness of Communication Approaches in the Case Study

Effective communication is critical in ensuring the realization of optimal clinical outcomes. Dr Kerr carefully and intently listened to Jenna and Smith present their perception of vaccines and why they did not want their child to be vaccinated. Dr Kerr also explains to Jenna and Smith the significance of vaccines and why she strongly recommends them. Dr. Kerr uses simple, easily understandable language when communicating with her client. Her speech is free of ambiguous words and vocabulary that may present difficulties in understanding. Also, she did not interrupt her clients when they talked, enabling her to grasp all that was said. Jenna and Smith appreciate having understood Dr. Kerr’s explanation of vaccination. The communication process between Dr. Kerr and her clients was effective. At the end of her communication, her clients agreed to understand her explanations and even appreciate her. She also agrees to have understood Jenna and Smith’s explanation of their perception of vaccines.

The effectiveness of a communication process is dependent on the utilization of communication skills between the communicating parties. Active listening is critical in communication as it enables the other party to grasp everything discussed (Watson et al., 2018). The communication process should also exhibit freedom from frequent interruptions, use of vocabulary, and ambiguity. Commanding tone, frequent interruptions, inattentiveness, ambiguity in statements, and heavy language hinder effective communication and have been implicated in ineffective communication.

Effective healthcare communication is critical to establishing a better relationship between caregivers and their patients. Additionally, effective communication enhances mutual respect between interdisciplinary teams, thereby working harmoniously towards improving patient outcomes (Watson et al., 2018). Non-effective transmission has been implicated in medical errors, poor artistry, and reduced healthcare quality and products.

Effectiveness of Approach Used by a Professional

The effectiveness of clinical approaches is dependent on sound and ethical clinical decision-making. In Dr. Kerr’s case, upon establishing that her patient had issues with a medical recommendation, she explained the importance of the intervention to the patient. She even goes further to outline to the client the expected benefits in an attempt to convince them. Dr. Kerr manages her professional responsibilities appropriately by recommending vaccinations to her clients. In this regard, she utilized her knowledge of vaccines and their safety to convince her clients to accept her recommendations. The case presented shows the significance of active listening in enhancing the effectiveness of healthcare communication. Active listening enables a better understanding of patient case presentations. It also facilitates the creation of a good rapport between the patient and their caregivers.

Resolving the Ethical Dilemma by Applying Ethical Principles

The ethical problem presented in the case study involves Dr. Kerr having difficulties deciding what to do to the client who does not want their child vaccinated. The solution to this problem is respecting the client’s wants and exempting their child from vaccination. This approach is an indication that the doctor respects the patient’s autonomy. Respect is a value admired by many and is likely to enhance her effectiveness in building relations between her and other disciplines within the healthcare setting. Additionally, the expression of respect is crucial in fostering professional collaborations. A healthy professional partnership is founded on mutual respect between the collaborating parties.


Ethical decision-making is key in navigating clinical complexities presented in the healthcare setting. Ethical dilemmas sometimes present at healthcare facilities, requiring clinicians to utilize ethical decision-making. This is the scenario in the case study showed. Dr. Kerr finds herself in a difficult situation with an anti-vaccination client. However, she exhibits sound ethical decision-making in navigating the case. She utilized the three components of ethical decision-making, moral awareness, moral judgment, and ethical behaviour, in identifying and addressing ethical issues presented by her clients. She also effectively communicated with her client, exhibiting specific attributes of effective healthcare communication.


Park, E. (2017). An integrated ethical decision-making model for nurses. Nursing Ethics19(1), 139-159.

Schwartz, M., & Kusyk, S. (2017). Ethical Decision-Making Theory: Revisiting the Moral Intensity Construct. Academy of Management Proceedings2017(1), 16266.

Watson, B., Heatley, M., Gallois, C., & Kruske, S. (2018). The importance of effective communication in interprofessional practice: perspectives of maternity clinicians. Health Communication31(4), 400-407.


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Develop a solution to a healthcare professional’s ethical dilemma by applying ethical principles. Describe the issues and a possible solution in a 3-5 page paper.

Applying Ethical Principles

Applying Ethical Principles

Whether you are a nurse, a public health professional, a health care administrator, or in another role in the health care field, you must base your decisions on a set of ethical principles and values. Your decisions must be fair, equitable, and defensible. Each discipline has established a professional code of ethics to guide ethical behaviour. In this assessment, you will practice working through a moral dilemma described in a case study. Your practice will help you develop a method for formulating ethical decisions.


Note: The requirements outlined below correspond to the grading criteria in the scoring guide. At a minimum, be sure to address each point. In addition, you are encouraged to review the performance-level descriptions for each criterion to see how your work will be assessed.

For this assessment, develop a solution to a healthcare professional’s ethical dilemma. In your assessment:

Access the Ethical Case Studies media piece to review the case studies you will use for this assessment.
Select the case most closely related to your area of interest and use it to complete the assessment.
Note: The case study may not supply all the necessary information. In such cases, you should consider various possibilities and infer potential conclusions. However, please be sure to identify any assumptions or speculations you make.
Include the selected case study using APA style and format in your reference list. Refer to the Evidence and APA section of the Writing Center for guidance.
Summarize the facts in a case study and use the three components of an ethical decision-making model to analyze a moral problem or issue and the factors that contributed to it.
Identify which case study you selected and briefly summarize the facts surrounding it. Identify the problem or issue that presents an ethical dilemma or challenge and describe that dilemma or challenge.
Identify who is involved or affected by the ethical problem or issue.
Access the Ethical Decision-Making Model media piece and use the three components of the ethical decision-making model (moral awareness, moral judgment, and ethical behaviour) to analyze the ethical issues.
Apply the three components outlined in the Ethical Decision-Making Model media.
Analyze the factors contributing to the ethical problem or issue identified in the case study.
Describe the factors that contributed to the problem or issue and explain how they contributed.
Apply academic peer-reviewed journal articles relevant to an ethical problem or issue as evidence to support an analysis of the case.
In addition to the readings provided, use the Capella Library to locate at least one academic peer-reviewed journal article relevant to the problem or issue that you can use to support your analysis of the situation. The NHS-FPX4000: Developing a Health Care Perspective Library Guide will help you locate appropriate references.
Cite and apply fundamental principles from the journal article as evidence to support your critical thinking and analysis of the ethical problem or issue.
Review the Think Critically About Source Quality resource.
Assess the credibility of the information source.
Assess the relevance of the information source.
Discuss the effectiveness of the communication approaches present in a case study.
Describe how the healthcare professional in the case study communicated with others.
Assess instances where the professional communicated effectively or ineffectively.
Explain which communication approaches should be used and which ones should be avoided.
Describe the consequences of using practical and non-effective communication approaches.
Discuss the effectiveness of the approach used by a professional to deal with problems or issues involving ethical practice in a case study.
Describe the actions taken in response to the ethical dilemma or issue presented in the case study.
Summarize how well the professional managed professional responsibilities and priorities to resolve the problem or issue in the case.
Discuss the key lessons this case provides for healthcare professionals.
Apply ethical principles to a possible solution to a moral problem or issue described in a case study.
Describe the proposed solution.
Discuss how the approach makes this professional more effective or less effective in building relationships across disciplines within their organization.
Discuss how likely the proposed solution will foster professional collaboration.

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