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1.
Am J Nurs ; 122(3): 49-54, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703180

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: It's usually considered a violation of professional ethics for health care workers, including nurses, to refuse to work during mass medical emergencies, especially if their refusal is over concerns like compensation. Strikes and other forms of work stoppage may result in harm to patients and, therefore, violate professional obligations of beneficence. However, in rare circumstances a health care worker's choice to remain on the job despite risk or potential harm to themselves or even their family may be considered beyond their professional obligation. During a pandemic such as COVID-19, the ethical calculus (that is, finding the right balance between beneficence and harm before deciding on a course of action) must take account of a confluence of factors, including the risks to present patients, future patients, and health care workers; the severity and duration of the risks; and the availability of ameliorative or protective steps that reduce risk and harm. The principle of beneficence to both future patients and health care workers may be thwarted if the risk analysis is confined only to short-term concerns (that is, to concerns occurring within a narrow temporal window). If a significantly elevated risk has been demonstrated to affect nurses and other health care workers of color disproportionately, racial justice must also be considered. The purpose of this article is to assess the moral framework of a work stoppage by nurses during a pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Ethics, Nursing , Strikes, Employee/ethics , Health Personnel/ethics , Humans , Pandemics/ethics , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Eur J Psychotraumatol ; 12(1): 1984667, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510837

ABSTRACT

Background: Research is urgently needed to understand health care workers' (HCWs') experiences of moral-ethical dilemmas encountered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and their associations with organizational perceptions and personal well-being. This research is important to prevent long-term moral and psychological distress and to ensure that workers can optimally provide health services. Objective: Evaluate associations between workplace experiences during COVID-19, moral distress, and the psychological well-being of Canadian HCWs. Method: A total of 1362 French- and English-speaking Canadian HCWs employed during the COVID-19 pandemic were recruited to participate in an online survey. Participants completed measures reflecting moral distress, perceptions of organizational response to the pandemic, burnout, and symptoms of psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Results: Structural equation modelling showed that when organizational predictors were considered together, resource adequacy, positive work life impact, and ethical work environment negatively predicted severity of moral distress, whereas COVID-19 risk perception positively predicted severity of moral distress. Moral distress also significantly and positively predicted symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and burnout. Conclusions: Our findings highlight an urgent need for HCW organizations to implement strategies designed to prevent long-term moral and psychological distress within the workplace. Ensuring availability of adequate resources, reducing HCW risk of contracting COVID-19, providing organizational support regarding individual priorities, and upholding ethical considerations are crucial to reducing severity of moral distress in HCWs.


Antecedentes: Se necesita con urgencia investigaciones para comprender las experiencias de los dilemas éticos y morales que los trabajadores de la salud encontraron durante la pandemia de la COVID-19 y su asociación con las percepciones de la organización y el bienestar personal. Esta investigación es importante para prevenir la angustia moral y psicológica a largo plazo y para asegurar que los trabajadores de la salud puedan proveer de manera óptima los servicios de salud.Objetivo: Evaluar la asociación entre las experiencias en el lugar de trabajo durante la COVID-19, la angustia moral y el bienestar psicológico de los trabajadores de salud canadienses.Métodos: Se reclutó a un total de 1362 trabajadores de salud canadienses, que hablaban francés e inglés y que fueron contratados durante la pandemia de la COVID-19, para participar en un cuestionario en línea. Los participantes completaron mediciones que reflejaban la angustia moral, la percepción de la respuesta de la organización a la pandemia, el burnout y los síntomas de trastornos psicológicos, que incluían a la depresión, a la ansiedad y al trastorno de estrés postraumático (TEPT).Resultados: El modelo de ecuaciones estructurales mostró que cuando los predictores de la organización se consideraban en conjunto ­ los recursos adecuados, el impacto positivo en la vida laboral y un ambiente de trabajo ético ­, predijeron negativamente la gravedad de la angustia moral, mientras que la percepción del riesgo de contraer la COVID-19 predijo positivamente la gravedad de la angustia moral. La angustia moral también predijo de manera significativa y positiva los síntomas de la depresión, la ansiedad, el TEPT y el burnout.Conclusiones: Nuestros hallazgos resaltan la urgente necesidad de que las organizaciones de trabajadores de salud implementen estrategias diseñadas para prevenir la angustia moral y psicológica a largo plazo en el lugar de trabajo. El asegurar la disponibilidad de los recursos adecuados, el reducir el riesgo de que los trabajadores de salud contraigan la COVID-19, el proveer un soporte organizacional adecuado según las prioridades individuales y el respetar las consideraciones éticas son fundamentales para reducir la gravedad de la angustia moral en los trabajadores de salud.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Personnel , Mental Health/trends , Morals , Psychological Distress , Workplace/psychology , Adult , Anxiety/psychology , Burnout, Professional/psychology , Canada , Depression/psychology , Female , Health Personnel/ethics , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Internet , Male , Middle Aged , Organizational Culture , Surveys and Questionnaires
6.
Acad Med ; 96(11): 1507-1512, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493989

ABSTRACT

The harsh realities of racial inequities related to COVID-19 and civil unrest following police killings of unarmed Black men and women in the United States in 2020 heightened awareness of racial injustices around the world. Racism is deeply embedded in academic medicine, yet the nobility of medicine and nursing has helped health care professionals distance themselves from racism. Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), like many U.S. academic medical centers, affirmed its commitment to racial equity in summer 2020. A Racial Equity Task Force was charged with identifying barriers to achieving racial equity at the medical center and medical school and recommending key actions to rectify long-standing racial inequities. The task force, composed of students, staff, and faculty, produced more than 60 recommendations, and its work brought to light critical areas that need to be addressed in academic medicine broadly. To dismantle structural racism, academic medicine must: (1) confront medicine's racist past, which has embedded racial inequities in the U.S. health care system; (2) develop and require health care professionals to possess core competencies in the health impacts of structural racism; (3) recognize race as a sociocultural and political construct, and commit to debiologizing its use; (4) invest in benefits and resources for health care workers in lower-paid roles, in which racial and ethnic minorities are often overrepresented; and (5) commit to antiracism at all levels, including changing institutional policies, starting at the executive leadership level with a vision, metrics, and accountability.


Subject(s)
Academic Medical Centers/ethics , COVID-19/ethnology , Minority Groups/statistics & numerical data , Racism/ethnology , Schools, Medical/statistics & numerical data , Academic Medical Centers/organization & administration , African Americans/ethnology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Delivery of Health Care/ethics , Female , Health Personnel/ethics , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Schools, Medical/ethics , United States/epidemiology
7.
J Med Ethics ; 46(8): 495-498, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467727

ABSTRACT

Key ethical challenges for healthcare workers arising from the COVID-19 pandemic are identified: isolation and social distancing, duty of care and fair access to treatment. The paper argues for a relational approach to ethics which includes solidarity, relational autonomy, duty, equity, trust and reciprocity as core values. The needs of the poor and socially disadvantaged are highlighted. Relational autonomy and solidarity are explored in relation to isolation and social distancing. Reciprocity is discussed with reference to healthcare workers' duty of care and its limits. Priority setting and access to treatment raise ethical issues of utility and equity. Difficult ethical dilemmas around triage, do not resuscitate decisions, and withholding and withdrawing treatment are discussed in the light of recently published guidelines. The paper concludes with the hope for a wider discussion of relational ethics and a glimpse of a future after the pandemic has subsided.


Subject(s)
Decision Making/ethics , Ethics, Clinical , Health Care Rationing/ethics , Health Equity/ethics , Health Personnel/ethics , Pandemics/ethics , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Disaster Planning , Humans , Moral Obligations , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Poverty , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Professional-Patient Relations , Resuscitation Orders , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Values , Triage/ethics , Vulnerable Populations , Withholding Treatment/ethics
9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3698, 2021 06 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275915

ABSTRACT

In this single centre cohort study we assessed BNT162B2 vaccine uptake and effectiveness among UK healthcare workers (HCWs) during a time of high community COVID-19 prevalence. Early uptake among HCWs was 62.3% (1409/2260), however there were significant differences in uptake between age groups, ethnic origins, and job roles. Uptake increased to 72.9% after a vaccine hesitancy working group implemented specific measures. In the 42 days after vaccination, 49 new cases of COVID-19 were identified, of which 7 (14.3%) occurred in HCWs who were beyond 10 days of vaccination. Kaplan-Meier curves for partially vaccinated and unvaccinated groups were congruent until day 14 and continued to diverge up to 42 days. Cox regression analysis showed a 70.0% (95%CI 6.0-91.0; p=0.04) risk reduction for COVID-19 infection in partially vaccinated HCWs. Here we report early vaccination rates among HCWs are generally high although uptake is lower in certain groups. It is possible to improve vaccine uptake and efforts should focus on this, however, significant resource is required. The BNT162B2 vaccine is effective from 14 days post-vaccination in a frontline clinical setting and protection continues beyond 21 days post 1st dose without a 2nd dose, being given.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Female , Health Personnel/ethics , Health Personnel/psychology , Hospitals/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Kaplan-Meier Estimate , Male , Middle Aged , Proportional Hazards Models , Time Factors , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Vaccination/psychology , Vaccination Refusal/psychology , Vaccination Refusal/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
12.
J Contin Educ Health Prof ; 41(2): 124-129, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1183044

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: Fundamental quandaries of clinical and biomedical ethics for health care professionals, committees, and systems have been raised into stark relief by the COVID-19 pandemic. The nature and extent of critical issues raised by this ongoing crisis, including challenging ethical dilemmas for the health care profession, is likely to have an indelible impact on the professional identity formation (PIF) of learners and practitioners across the trajectory of the professional lifecycle. The lifelong process of PIF for health care practitioners, from learner through independent practice, is supported in medical education by intentional reflection, relationships within community of practice include guidance from mentoring, as well as resilience, both emotional and moral. We consider how grappling with ethical dilemmas related to the COVID-19 pandemic can challenge, inform, and even potentially transform the PIF process, thereby supporting development of a morally resilient, humanistic professional identity in health care trainees and health care professionals.


Subject(s)
Attitude of Health Personnel , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Personnel/ethics , Professional-Patient Relations/ethics , Self Concept , Ethics, Medical , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Morals , Professional Competence , Social Identification
13.
Health Secur ; 19(3): 318-326, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1171919

ABSTRACT

The impact of host genomics on an individual's susceptibility, immune response, and risk of severe outcomes for a given infectious pathogen is increasingly recognized. As we uncover the links between host genomics and infectious disease, a number of ethical, legal, and social issues need to be considered when using that information in clinical practice or workforce decisions. We conducted a survey of the clinical staff at 10 federally funded Regional Ebola and Other Special Pathogen Treatment Centers to understand their views regarding the ethical, legal, and social issues related to host genomics and the administrative and clinical functions of high-level isolation units. Respondents overwhelmingly agreed that genomics could provide valuable information to identify patients and employees at higher risk for poor outcomes from highly infectious diseases. However, there was considerable disagreement about whether such data should inform the allocation of scarce resources or determine treatment decisions. While most respondents supported a confidential employer-based genomic testing system to inform individual employees about risk, respondents disagreed about whether such information should be used in staffing models. Respondents who thought genomic information would be valuable for patient treatment were more willing to undergo genetic testing for staffing purposes. Most respondents felt they would benefit from additional training to better interpret results from genetic testing. Although this study was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic, the responses provide a baseline assessment of provider attitudes that can inform policy during the current pandemic and in future infectious disease outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Attitude of Health Personnel , Biomedical Research/ethics , Genomics/ethics , Health Personnel/ethics , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/prevention & control , Humans
15.
Hastings Cent Rep ; 51(1): 22-27, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1100860

ABSTRACT

The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated a trend toward burnout in health care workers, making starkly clear that burnout is especially likely when providing health care is not only stressful and sad but emotionally alienating; in such situations, there is no mental space for clinicians to experience authentic clinical empathy. Engaged curiosity toward each patient is a source of meaning and connection for health care providers, and it protects against sympathetic distress and burnout. In a prolonged crisis like Covid-19, clinicians provide care out of a sense of duty, especially the duty of nonabandonment. We argue that when duty alone is relied on too heavily, with fear and frustration continually suppressed, the risk of burnout is dramatically increased. Even before Covid-19, clinicians often worked under dehumanizing and unjust conditions, and rates of burnout were 50 percent for physicians and 33 percent for nurses. The Covid-19 intensification of burnout can serve as a wake-up call that the structure of health care needs to be improved if we are to prevent the loss of a whole generation of empathic clinicians.


Subject(s)
Burnout, Professional/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Empathy , Moral Obligations , Occupational Stress/epidemiology , Burnout, Professional/psychology , COVID-19/therapy , Health Personnel/ethics , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Occupational Stress/psychology , United States
16.
Ethics Hum Res ; 43(2): 19-27, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1074308

ABSTRACT

Employees are often considered a vulnerable research population due to concerns about consent and confidentiality, but there is insufficient guidance regarding their ethical inclusion in research. In the context of Covid-19, frontline health care workers comprise a particularly relevant research population in light of their risks of viral exposure and psychological strain, among other factors. They may therefore be targeted for research conducted at their place of employment and benefit from participating in such research. Beyond Covid-19, there are other circumstances in which health care workers may be considered for inclusion in research conducted by or with the involvement of their colleagues and employers. As investigators, sponsors, institutional review boards, and others assess the ethical permissibility of these scenarios, as well as relevant protections, we recommend systematic consideration of social and scientific value, validity, fairness, risks and benefits, voluntary consent, respect, and independent review. There is often good reason to specifically target health care workers for inclusion in Covid-19 research (beyond convenience), and they should not be excluded from research offering the prospect of direct benefit. However, additional safeguards may be necessary in employer-based research to avoid scientific bias, promote voluntariness, and solicit stakeholder input. Research personnel should be permitted to enroll in their own Covid-19 studies only when participation offers them the prospect of unique benefits.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Ethics Committees, Research , Health Personnel/ethics , Research Personnel , Research , Health Personnel/organization & administration , Humans
17.
Front Public Health ; 8: 591900, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1069767

ABSTRACT

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic. Simultaneously, in Italy, in which the first case had occurred on February 18, the rigid phase of the lockdown began. The country has attracted worldwide attention, becoming at the same time a field of study both concerning the spread of the pandemic and advanced assessments of the effectiveness of political, public health, and therapeutic measures. The protagonists of the Italian crisis were the healthcare workers (HCWs) who were exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) without having any perception of what they were facing, courageously contributing to the containment of the epidemic to be defined by the media as "heroes." However, in the first phase of the pandemic (March-May 2020), the price that the Italian Public Health System had to pay both in terms of the number of positive virus cases and deaths among the HCWs was beyond and represented a peculiarity compared to what happened in other countries. In the current study, after a summary of the evolution of the pandemic in Italy, we offer an analysis of the statistical data concerning contagions and deaths among healthcare workers (physicians in particular). In conclusion, we describe the critical issues that still need to be resolved and the future challenges facing healthcare workers and the general population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Communicable Disease Control , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , RNA, Messenger , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , Health Personnel/ethics , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Personal Protective Equipment , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
18.
Public Health Nurs ; 38(3): 473-479, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066751

ABSTRACT

Urging the government to exercise a complete border closure to inhibit the spread of the novel coronavirus from Mainland China, about 8,000 health care workers participated in a 5-day strike in early February 2020 in Hong Kong. Despite gaining 61% support from the public, dissenters criticised that the participants violated professional ethics and abandoned their accountabilities, which led to moral distress. However, the participants were guided by the four fundamental medical principles (autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice) for public interest and health equity. Their concerns for occupational safety should not be ignored to maintain an effective health care system. In short, the strike adopted a bottom-up initiative and adhered to a public-centered perspective and community-driven ethical behaviors, through which the participants deliberated over professionalism, humanism and the imminence of public health, and the balance between them. Strikers showed care and concern for the safety of the community, sustainability of the health care system, and well-being of all people in Hong Kong.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel/ethics , Strikes, Employee/ethics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hong Kong , Humans
20.
Bioethics ; 35(2): 125-134, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066621

ABSTRACT

In March 2020, the rapid increase in severe COVID-19 cases overwhelmed the healthcare systems in several European countries. The capacities for artificial ventilation in intensive care units were too scarce to care for patients with acute respiratory disorder connected to the disease. Several professional associations published COVID-19 triage recommendations in an extremely short time: in 21 days between March 6 and March 27. In this article, we compare recommendations from five European countries, which combine medical and ethical reflections on this situation in some detail. Our aim is to provide a detailed overview on the ethical elements of the recommendations, the differences between them and their coherence. In more general terms we want to identify shortcomings in regard to a common European response to the current situation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Health Care Rationing , Standard of Care/ethics , Triage/ethics , Age Factors , COVID-19/epidemiology , Europe/epidemiology , Health Personnel/ethics , Health Personnel/psychology , Health Priorities , Hospitalization , Human Rights , Humans , Intensive Care Units/ethics , Practice Guidelines as Topic , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Treatment Outcome , Ventilators, Mechanical/supply & distribution , Withholding Treatment/ethics
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