NHS FPX4000 Applying Ethical Principles

NHS FPX4000 Applying Ethical Principles

NHS FPX4000 Applying Ethical Principles

Healthcare professionals usually strive to fulfill their moral and professional obligations to offer the most appropriate care to patients. However, in efforts to offer such care, they usually come across various ethical issues that they have to remediate using principles and moral values. The four principles of justice, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and autonomy are widely applied in solving such challenges. The implication is that these healthcare professionals have to appropriately use their knowledge and judgment from time to time, depending on the case, to come up with sound decisions where the actions do not infringe on the patient’s rights (W Haugom et al.,2019). Therefore, the purpose of this assignment is to analyze an ethical case study facing a healthcare professional on whether to vaccinate or not.

Overview of the Case

            The selected case study is about whether to vaccinate or not. This is a case study of a couple, Jenna and Chris, with their five-year-old baby Ana who was born ok with no complications. However, they have decided against vaccinating her for fear of autism since they have read that vaccination could lead to autism. Dr. Kerr listened carefully as they argued their point and informed them that it would be better to vaccinate Ana even though a lot of controversies have surrounded vaccines in recent years. The doctor argued her point and offered examples where vaccines have helped millions of children globally and have reduced mortality rates.

Dr. Kerr gave extra information to support the safety of vaccinates and pointed to the parents that there is usually a regular update of the vaccine profile safety by the federal government. This has improved transparency regarding vaccine safety since individuals are encouraged to report any safety concerns, and so far, no vaccines have been shown to cause autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Kerr also told Ana’s parents that vaccines had played a critical role in protecting children with weakened immune systems due to complications such as cancer and genetic disease treatment. These children cannot be vaccinated, but they are protected from exposure due to the fact that almost all other children and adults have been vaccinated. She also let the parents know that most states require that children be vaccinated before starting to attend school, except under specific and special circumstances. Even though Dr. Kerr labored to offer explanations, she was surprised that Ana’s parents still indicated that they did want to vaccinate their child. She is therefore perplexed about the way forward.

Analysis of Ethical Issues in the Case Study

            This case study presents ethical complications. Ana should get vaccinated, but she is only five years old; therefore, she cannot make decisions on her own. Therefore, her parents are obliged to make care decisions on her behalf. The parents fear the possibility of their daughter being exposed to autism upon immunization, and such should be respected due to autonomy. However, they are overlooking the potential benefits of vaccination, and therefore, they are not doing justice to the child.

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Guided by the principles of nonmaleficence and beneficence, Dr. Kerr explains to the parents the benefits of getting the vaccine. She explains that Ann will be protected from diseases that could hit her in the absence of the vaccination. It is important to note that the doctor was also aware of the patient’s autonomy, and since the parents are the ones making decisions on behalf of their child, she has to respect their choice and ensure that autonomy is upheld.

Using the Ethical Decision-Making Model to Analyze the Case Study

As earlier indicated, cases involving ethical complications should adequately be solved by professionals. Therefore, the ethical decision-making model can be key in making such decisions. The applicable components include ethical behaviors, moral judgment, and moral awareness (Rainer et al.,2018). Moral awareness entails being in the know of the existing ethical dilemma. Healthcare professionals, therefore, become aware that an ethical situation is likely to arise where their ability to save the situation would be limited. On the other hand, moral judgment involves going for what is good whenever an ethical dilemma situation arises, while ethical behavior entails the action that a healthcare professional undertakes in the face of ethical complexity.

The doctor’s moral awareness is evident as she tries her best to explain to the parents about vaccines and why they will be good for Ana. She, therefore, through her professional knowledge and experience, brings on board several examples in a bid to convince the parents that Ana should be vaccinated. The moral judgment is further proven by her effort to bring to the table sufficient proof showing that vaccines are safe and opposes the myths around vaccines. She is convinced that vaccinating Anna is the way to go, and therefore she makes efforts to convince the parents. Ethical behavior also entails the actions taken that revolve around the main ethical principles of justice, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and autonomy (Rus & Groselj, 2021). These principles guided the doctor to strive and explain the importance of vaccinating Ana.

Effectiveness of Communication Approaches in the Case Study

Communication is a key component in offering appropriate care to patients in the healthcare setting. Therefore, the physician and the patient should practice effective communication for a better outcome. It is evident that Dr. Kerr held her cool and listened to the Smiths as they were expressing their fears regarding vaccinating Ana. She learns that the parents have been researching vaccines and therefore have come up with their findings. She acknowledges the controversies surrounding the use of vaccines and goes ahead to explain why it is still important to go ahead with vaccination. Therefore, active listening as a strategy of effective communication (Ward, 2018) was used by Dr. Kerr, enabling her to advise the parents accordingly regarding vaccination and vaccines.

The doctor is aware that it will be against the professionals and legal rules to vaccinate Ana without the parent’s informed consent. She, therefore, designs her communication path to go in the direction of bursting myths regarding vaccinations and giving practical examples of why vaccination is key, especially in the life of a child. Throughout such a discourse, the doctor transparently communicates with the Smiths to let them know the truths and facts about vaccination, and while the doctor acknowledges their fears, she carefully explains to them the benefits of vaccinating Ana. As such, transparent communication is another communication strategy used in this case study (Ward, 2018).

Resolving the Ethical Dilemma by Applying Ethical Principles 

This case can be resolved using ethical principles since the doctor is being faced with an ethical dilemma; therefore, the principles of justice, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and autonomy will all be applicable in this case. The principle of autonomy revolves around the patient and prompts the doctor to acknowledge and accept the patient’s beliefs, values, preferences, and choices (Rus & Groselj, 2021). Nonmaleficence restrains the healthcare professional from causing harm to the patient, while beneficence requires that the doctor advocates for the patient’s good and welfare. In addition, justice entails treating the patient with the required fairness.

In this case of to vaccinate or not, two major principles come into play since the dilemma results from beneficence and autonomy conflicts. While Dr. Kerr believes that she has to act in a way to promote the good and welfare of the patient by ensuring that she gets vaccinated, she is held back by the principle of autonomy (Rus & Groselj, 2021). The parents are against vaccination since they believe that it can lead to adverse effects. The doctor’s power is therefore limited because she has to respect the parents’ decisions. As such, her hands are tried, and she is only left with offering professional advice on why it is key that the child gets vaccinated.

The doctor needs to ensure that by the end of the day, the child benefits. Therefore, she can involve another professional in the case. For instance, the doctor can bring along the Child Protection Services officials to help in advising and counseling the parents to make them have change in stance for the benefit of the child. She is professionally and ethically obligated to help the child get the best outcomes by getting the vaccine; as such, she has to fulfill the professional obligation and invite child protective services (Rus & Groselj, 2021). Even though such actions may override autonomy, they would be for the overall benefit of the child.


Healthcare professionals usually encounter ethical principles in their day-to-day work and efforts to offering care to the patient. As such, they have to act within the confines of ethical and professional conduct and ensure that care outcomes are better. Dr. Kerr is caught between the principles of autonomy and beneficence. Therefore she should go all out and involve another party to ensure that the child benefits in the end.


Rainer, J., Schneider, J. K., & Lorenz, R. A. (2018). Ethical dilemmas in nursing: An integrative review. Journal of Clinical Nursing27(19-20), 3446-3461. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14542

Rus, M., & Groselj, U. (2021). Ethics of vaccination in childhood—A framework based on the four principles of biomedical ethics. Vaccines9(2), 113. https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9020113

Ward, P. (2018). Trust and communication in a doctor-patient relationship: a literature review. Arch Med3(3), 36. DOI: 10.4172/2472-1654.100146

W Haugom, E., Ruud, T., & Hynnekleiv, T. (2019). Ethical challenges of seclusion in psychiatric inpatient wards: a qualitative study of the experiences of Norwegian mental health professionals. BMC Health Services Research19(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4727-4