professional standards in mental health care

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Many ethical dilemmas for the health professional are considered dilemmas because of the moral principles they involve. A dilemma in this sense is defined as the conflict between doing what is right, as opposed to what is wrong, in light of the consequences of a decision made or an action taken (Kelly-Hayes, 2003; Thompson, Melia & Boyd, 2000).


The ethical dilemma that this paper will address is that of a mental health nurse who receives a phone call from a doctor that asks her to breach patient confidentiality. Firstly, the ethical and legal considerations of the dilemma will be presented. Secondly, the managerial qualities that the nurse in question should display will be provided. Finally, the implications of a chosen solution for the nurse's personal professional practice shall be highlighted.
The practice of mental health nursing requires scientific and technical knowledge, and also the ability to make value based judgments (General Medical Council, 2001; Thompson, Melia & Boyd, 2000). These judgments need to be critically analysed and evaluated in the same way that scientific information is assessed. The term ethics is a generic word used to represent a variety of methods for investigating and understanding moral life. As such, medical ethics requires that a mental health nurse go beyond the individual, and draw on presumed universal laws (General Medical Council, 2001). The United Kingdom Mental Health Act states that medical ethics must ensure that a patient is provided with reception, care and treatment, and adequate management of their property and related matters. ...
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