Choose 1 item from the PA Code of Conduct that you have personal experience with or value highly. Discuss the importance of this item to you personally, and to the PA Profession. I would like to pick Nonmaleficence and discuss about the situations where as a provider we will be forced to take care of family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Nonmaleficence means do no harm and for the same reason American Medical Association says that Physician generally should not treat the family.
But, AAPA in its guidelines says, “it might be ethically acceptable to treat one’s own child for a case of otitis media, but it probably is not acceptable to treat one’s spouse for depression”. While there is a significant grey area in the guidelines and in real life how do we decide while put in a situation.
In my personal experience have encountered various situations to either treat or give an opinion about the treatment they are going through. I have in-fact done those as it is unavoidable. Most of the time the thought was not to do anything wrong or otherwise Nonmaleficence. I felt the importance of Nonmaleficence during one of my rotations.
The Nurse practitioner was having severe headaches and everybody including her in the practice diagnosed it as cluster headache and it was treated with cluster headache medication through a prescription from another provider in the practice. After several days of treatment and without improvement she was referred to a neurologist who eventually diagnosed it as tension headache. In this context, an early referral would have prevented a week-long suffering, and I also felt that it was harmful for the patient since she had to go through a prolonged agony which led to several speculations and assumptions.
While a provider cannot circumvent such situations, it is important to establish a patient provider relationship to treat anybody. As a provider if put in such situations should asses and evaluate the family, acquaintance and coworkers in a similar manner to the non-related patient. In that case the principle of Nonmaleficence can be applied as a Physician Assistant in every situation.
Reflect on the ethical principles learned in class this semester. Describe how you will apply them to your clinical and professional practice, in a way that is new or improved from your practice as a PA Student. Be specific. The four main ethical principles learned are autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. In this age of modern medicine patients have a significant amount of autonomy.
At the same time the health care system is designed in a way which is beneficial to the patient. It is the responsibility of the leadership in any practice to establish and enforce ethical principles so there is minimal nonmaleficence and the justice is done to a patient. Since I am trying to get a job in primary care, my work place might be an office setting. As there is not one standard for ethical principles, it will be a challenge to begin with, but it will be better to follow the code of ethics if they already have one. Code of ethics provides a guidance to all employees including providers to follow a standard across board.
I would pay a careful attention to learn the code of conduct and reflect it in my everyday practice. Being familiar with the ethical principles, having the ability to analyze an ethical dilemma and selecting a decision applying all the four ethical principles would be my every day job.
The new changes in the health care technology and health care delivery brings a number of challenges in decision making from the diagnosis to the treatment of a patient. As a Physician Assistant I will be facing ethical dilemmas every day, and even as a student I have faced one simple dilemma either to stay late and finish the work or go home to prepare for the next day. Either go home early and missing important work or stay late to fulfill the duty as a provider at cost of personal life.
In the end as a Physician Assistant I will be in the place for making important decisions for the patients since they trust me, so I will try to find a balance to follow the ethical principles and apply them in every situation of my practice.
If you had one piece of advice regarding professionalism and ethics to give to the next class of PA students behind you, what would it be? The one piece of advice I would like to give both my class and the class next to me is to be professional in the practice and the learning starts at school. Being a professional is just not about getting a degree, courtesy and respect for others is an essential part of a professional, which I felt was lagging in most of the class mates.
It is important to adhere to the standards of professional behavior for a successful career. Professionalism is a way of leading oneself with respect for others, commitment to quality, responsibility and professional integrity. There were few instances in the entire course were there was a complete disrespect shown towards the faculty.
Confronting a faculty or in fact a fellow student is never considered a professional behavior. A true professional will always be modest and bring up their dissatisfaction in a private setting in a subtle way. While students expect a standard of quality from their superiors it is the responsibility of every student to follow the standards.
Understanding and adhering to the code of professional standards is a significant part of any professional curriculum. Another aspect of being a professional is not to cheat on assignments, tests and examinations. Cheating in an indirect way is also cheating which no professional should encourage themselves or anybody else.
Always stay positive, respect others, work focused and be honest and that is what true professionals do. By practicing true professionalism, you will create a positive reputation for your career. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about professionalism.