The hospital setting can put doctors in situations in which the ethical choice is not always clear. To help healthcare providers try and make the ethical decision, hospitals should provide several resources.
One key resource is ethics committees. Ethics committees are mainly composed of educators; they do not tell a doctor what to do, but they can help a doctor sort through the ethical labyrinth of any given situation.
The ethics committee itself has to follow some ethics. The people on the committee shouldn’t have uniform perspectives or opinions. They should have diverse viewpoints. They should also have access to additional resources, including specialists, to give informed recommendations.
Again, the doctor is under no obligation to follow the committee’s advice. However, if they choose to deviate from the committee’s findings, it’s ethically responsible for the doctor to explain why.
Other resources available to hospitals are nurses. Nurses have their own code of ethics. The nurse leader can help alleviate ethical distress and provide ethical resources for other nurses. These resources involve education and training in the field of ethics.
Social workers can serve as a go-between for the doctor and the patient. Social workers evaluate, assess, and communicate constantly with patients. They have a comprehensive understanding of the patient’s situation. Their keen awareness can be utilized to help solve or confront possible ethical quandaries or problems.