Ethics of Patient Education In Health Care and Nursing

Nurses Educator 2

Health Care and Nursing and Ethics of Patient Education

Ethics of Patient Education In Health Care and Nursing

Whats Are  Ethics of Patient Education,Harm of Poor Education of Patient,Restriction of Freedom In Patient Education,Example of Past Experiences,Professional Education of Patient As Compare to Traditional Education,Patient Errors Can Be Avoided.

Whats Are  Ethics of Patient Education

    Virtually no dialogue has occurred about special ethical challenges in the practice of patient education. Several points might be made.

Harm of Poor Education of Patient

    Patient education poorly done can create harms such as loss of confidence and incapacitating confusion. Since it is not possible to predict when this will happen, an essential step in patient education is outcome assessment. 

    This is rarely done. In addition, lack of patient education services when they are needed can also cause harm. Likewise, there is no routine surveillance to see how often this occurs; many chapters in this book document patient education not being done.

Restriction of Freedom In Patient Education

    Because paternalistic behavior among providers is still evident, patient education contains opportunities for witting and unwitting coercion/oppression. While it may be possible to achieve the value free standard expected in genetic counseling, a more realistic goal would be to ensure that the patient's values are utilized and to negotiate or fully discuss those areas in which this is not possible.

Example of Past Experiences

    Throughout much evidence has been presented that patient education as it is currently practiced is far less available for those with lesser educational levels and that educational level is significantly related to health outcomes. An old set of assumptions about who can and cannot (the mentally ill, the elderly, etc.) learn is beginning to be challenged. But to an unknown extent, current practice contributes further to oppression and lack-of-life opportunity these groups already experience.

Professional Education of Patient As Compare to Traditional Education

    Centrality of patient education is significantly different in the professional practice of various health disciplines, most particularly medicine and nursing. A negotiated consensus on the importance of patient education is unlikely. 

    In this situation, each profession should be able to practice according to its philosophical dictates, and the team should be required to work out areas in which the patient could be disadvantaged by such practice. 

    Such a scenario is preferable to the current one in which nursing's professional philosophy is violated in order to accommodate medicines. The standards of evidence based practice should support common practice across disciplines but currently does not. 

Patient Errors Can Be Avoided

    Practitioners should be held responsible for reasonably for see able patient errors that could be avoided by patient education. Legal and quality of care standards to this effect would both protect patients and provide a clear signal that patient education is an accountable element of professional practice.

    Since Western ethics is heavily focused on patient subject autonomy, many of the transactions involved in clinical care and research depend on patient subject understanding. Patient education has not been considered as central to bioethics, and although many studies have documented lack of patient subject understanding, a sense of resignation and inevitability reigns. 

    It does not have to, but even the threat of litigation from lack of informed consent does not seem to motivate toward more rigorous practice. We know how to help people understand these and many other concepts central to autonomy and informed decision making, we just need to decide it's worth investing in. In addition, the long-standing lack of attention to the ethics of patient education must be addressed .

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