Ethics are both private and administrative. Your personal ethics might be one thing, whereas the integrity you’re required to follow under the guidelines put forth by the American Nursing Association or from the National Paralegal Association, may conflict with your own morality But you have a responsibility to follow these integrity parameters if you would like to keep your work and avoid being sued for malpractice or violating confidentiality provisions.
While this report focuses on paralegal and health care professionals, a number of these principles are also highly applicable within any situation where you’re managing someone’s personal information.
1. Study- if you’re a nurse, then study the ANA handbook. If you’re a paralegal, then study the NPA’s guide regarding integrity. Also, study the respective company policies offered to you once hired by a business offered to you at orientation. What you do not know can get you killed!
2. Do not Gossip: Clients will approach you with all kinds of embarrassing stories about their lives. Medical conditions, legal issues, tales of adultery, infertility, and other gut turning situations will be common place in any field of client relations. You have to manage these situations with care. If you would not want it to be shared with the general public, then its safe to assume that your customer would not either. Practice compassion, and place yourself in their shoes.
3. Be mindful of eavesdropping: When talking to a customer on the telephone or in person, make certain these conversations are done so in a quiet, protected, and private place. If these discussions are inadvertently heard by a third party, it may cause adverse consequences.
4. Secure records: Any paperwork concerning company secrets or customer information should not lay around publicly for passerbyers to see.
5. Don’t administer actions without consent: Unless you’re directed by a qualified physician or attorney, nurses and paralegals are not permitted to provide a personalized identification, legal advice, or administer therapy. Nurses and Paralegals must also refrain from taking action once the client doesn’t consent. We want to operate mostly by direct control, and rarely behave independently, and even if we do, we’re highly monitored.
6. Prevent the media: Addressing the media about a customer or the organization that you work for without consent is a significant NO-NO.
7. Do not be an accomplice: If you visit that your supervising Doctor or lawyer doing something highly illegal or unethical, you have the right to talk and file a report with the police. Don’t become an accomplice to illegal action.
8. Think twice before getting a rouge: Getting a whistleblower or acting on your own because it”feels right”, could force you to go down in history as a courageous hero and save lives, but it won’t be without consequences. Acting beyond your assigned job, even if it saves a life may still cost you your job or open up you for a malpractice lawsuit or legal sanctions. Before trying to become the next Edward Snowden, remember, there’ll be consequences.
9. Most physicians and paralegals are required or invited to attend furthering education classes or”refresher courses”.
10. Pledge your loyalty to your customer: Your job is to become an advocate for the client and an assistant to your superior. Embrace this function fully! Do this away from the customer to be able to secure the honor of your boss as not to undermine him. In addition, do not conspire or talk with any external forces who might work against the interests of your customer and/or employer. You’re being paid for such devotion.
11. If you can’t fathom defending a murderer or thief, you might want to steer clear of criminal law and attempt bankruptcy law instead. You could also request to be removed from specific cases or refuse to work with specific customers who make you feel uneasy. However, irrespective of how hard you try to handle your career, you may finally be forced to take actions that go against your personal beliefs. It is the nature of any company and something all workers must learn how to accept. Do what you can to minimize such conditions but also learn how to warrant such activities if absolutely necessary. Those who don’t rationalize their tasks will fall prey to alcoholism and other unhealthy coping methods if they don’t learn how to deal naturally.
The doctrine and administrative guidelines that regulate the notion of”integrity” can become very complicated. If you’re unsure about whether you could be violating your company’s standards of integrity, it never hurts to ask!