Ethical Concern Regarding Bedside Reporting – Medical Ethics Example

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"Ethical Concern Regarding Bedside Reporting" is an excellent example of a paper on medical ethics. One ethical concern with regards to bedside reporting is that nurses may work in environments with limited privacy. Most patients are normally attended to inwards or rooms that are semi-private, and it is possible that, when bedside reporting is used, visiting families or fellow patients will overhear the information (Diane, Fowler, & Levine-Ariff, 2007). Another ethical concern has to do with the issue surrounding new and/or sensitive information that the family or patient has no knowledge about yet.

Traditional reporting styles, in this case, could provide a better way for giving this information since there is no way of knowing how the patient and their families will react if given the information face to face. Finally, another ethical concern has to do with a perceived decrease of healthcare staff efficiency as it involves overtime, which may be a direct threat to the safety of the patient due to tiredness and, in some cases, resentment of bedside reporting by the nursing staff (Diane, Fowler, & Levine-Ariff, 2007).       Explain the role of the Institutional Review Board The Institutional Review Board works to ensure, among other things that the hospital follows the ethical guidelines and principles, which seek to protect patients in the hospital, for both research and practice (Diane, Fowler, & Levine-Ariff, 2007).

With regard to nursing practice, the IRB insists on various ethical principles and human rights including justice, beneficence, and respect for persons. The IRB now recognizes the three principles as the quintessential requirements that all hospitals need to use for ethical conduct in nursing practice. Respect for persons in the hospital has to do with the recognition of autonomy and personal dignity of the patients, as well as special protection for patients whose autonomy has diminished.

Beneficence has to do, with the obligation of the hospital, to protect patients from harm through minimization of possible risks and maximization of anticipated benefits during bedside reporting. Finally, the principle of justice requires the burden and benefits of bedside reporting are fairly distributed among all patients involved (Diane, Fowler, & Levine-Ariff, 2007).           Nursing theorist and model framework This research will utilize Hildegard Peplau’ s nursing theory of interpersonal relations.

This theoretical model is especially important in the development of new nursing interventions, such as bedside reporting (Peplau, 2008). This theoretical model framework proposes seven roles for nursing that can be used in bedside reporting, which are also illustrative of clinical nursing’ s dynamic character roles. These include the counseling role, teaching role, resource role, stranger role, active leadership role, technical expert role, and surrogate role. The theoretical framework also details the various stages of development in the relationship between the patient and the nurse, which are important in bedside reporting and its effectiveness.

These are the orientation phase, identification phase, exploitation phase, and resolution phase (Peplau, 2008).     Conclusion The major goal of bedside reporting, which is patient and family-centered, aims to improve the sharing of information for the benefit of care experience, as well as the safety of patients. However, bedside reporting has several ethical concerns including lack of privacy, poor service due to overtime, and the way of breaking sensitive information. However, these concerns can be handled to some extent through adherence to IRB guidelines and principles.

In addition, the goal of bedside reporting should be a partnership, as detailed in Hildegard Peplau’ s theoretical framework of interpersonal relations, rather than simply transferring traditional styles of reporting.      


Diane, M., Fowler, M., & Levine-Ariff, J. (2007). Ethics at the bedside: a sourcebook for the critical care nurse. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott.

Peplau, H. E. (2008). Interpersonal Relations in Nursing: a Conceptual Frame of Reference for Psychodynamic Nursing. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

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