Two theoretical approaches for understanding ethical dilemmas in public health practice
There are two theoretical approaches for understanding ethical dilemmas in public health practice and they are utilitarian and deontological ethics. Deontological focuses on the idea that an individual’s action might not be deemed moral right, however, that very action has resulted in something good or a positive outcome. In comparison, utilitarianism focuses on an individual making a decision or doing an action that actually made a positive effect that benefited others (Page Center Training PSU Education, 2021).
A real-world situation
A real-world situation that I have experienced is being overworked by my health department in undesirable weather and conditions to vaccinate the entire community and county. Although the action that the organization is doing to its employees is immoral and goes against ethical guidelines, the outcome actually benefits the population because we are providing a service that is ignoring the health of the population during a public health emergency (pandemic). This situation mirrors the definition of deontological ethics, where the leaders of the organization’s actions are not deemed moral, but the outcome is positive and beneficial.
Page Center Training PSU Education. (2021). Ethical Theories. https://pagecentertraining.psu.edu/public-relations-ethics/introduction-to-public-relations-ethics/lesson-1/ethical-theories/
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American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th Ed.). Washington, DC: Author.