Pandemic Ethics Among Care Professionals

The current situation in the world has posed a battle to the nurses against the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel of this pandemic has stricken the nation’s population, inducing an influx of inpatients and those in ICU, hence posing ethical dilemmas related to the roles of healthcare professionals. The pandemic shook the principles regarding ethics and led to situations that needed critical decision-making. They put healthcare professionals in a state of ethical dilemmas and have raised ethical questions in the health sector. This paper discusses some ethical issues that a pandemic may pose to care professionals.

Regarding the responsibility of care professionals to the patients, families of patients, and themselves, ethical issues related to the nurse’s safety, moral distress, and roles. The security and safety of nurses is a pressing ethical dilemma as they have been put in a position to work under circumstances that pose a risk to their health and well-being. For example, Covid-19 is a contagious disease that has caused distress worldwide, and everyone fears acquiring the illness (Robert et al., 2020). The lack of protection for the nurses as they handle patients with the disease poses an ethical dilemma about the extent of their responsibility to patients and their family’s risk of failure of personal protection during care. The challenge of lack of protective equipment and many uses is facing distress concerning maintaining the care needed for patients and keeping themselves safe.

The pandemic has caused an ethical challenge regarding who should be treated first. There have been reported a large number of infected patients with the illness. The pandemic has posed a critical situation to care professionals regarding who they should prioritize during the provision of Medicare to patients infected with the disease. The dilemma has led to psychological issues related to life- and death decisions that have had to be made (Almutairi et al., 2021). Medicare discrimination is present concerning the priority of giving care to patients in an emergency where some people believe that consideration should be given to the patients who arrived first for treatment hence jeopardizing the decision-making and anatomy of patients.

Critical ethical dilemmas exist regarding fairness in allocating the limited resources available for the treatment of COVID-19. There is a dilemma on whether health insurance should cover the treatment of COVID-19 (Robert et al., 2020). A problem is presented on whether insurance should cover sting, isolation costs, and quarantine. Additional questions exist on who is ineligible for payment claims for COVID-19. The care professionals wonder whether to accept or deny pre-planned treatment to specific patients, such as on-treatment cancer patients.

Care professionals face the ethical dilemma of whether patients be moved to residential or nursing homes if those places have high rates of COVID infection. Residential and nursing homes are supposed to give quality care to their patients. The professionals experience a dilemma of whether the process is beneficial in offering care or jeopardizing a patient’s health. Such an issue may leave the care professionals with a hard decision to make of whether to move the patient or not.

However, there have been public policy issues that fit well in medical ethics. The state and employers require people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when the vaccine becomes available. However, during the vaccine’s availability, policymakers, healthcare providers, and health officials will encounter a rationing decision (Wibawa, 2021). These decisions include who to be prioritized in the vaccination, whether the health workers or the people at risk.

The pandemic has posed media ethics and political issues and has posed a threat to the existence of news and journalism. Journalist has had a hard time reporting on the pandemic and matters concerning their safety and implementing their responsibility of writing. The ethical dilemma is posed on whether health professionals should be involved in protests against government policy, on social media, or in front of the press. Healthcare has the right to give the correct reports. However, healthcare professionals may experience adverse outcomes from appearing in the media (Garfin et al., 2020). There may be risks regarding providing poor quality information, patient privacy breaches, professional image damage, and violation of personal-professional boundaries.

The pandemic has posed an issue regarding over-reporting and underreporting the number of COVID-19 cases. Healthcare professionals have an ethical dilemma of publicly speculating about this issue. Public policies allow health professionals to speak out in case of misleading health information and fake news. The reporting can be done by hosting social media platforms to avoid misinformation that generally risks public health.

When politicians advocate for prevention approaches or treatments that conflict with the generally accepted medical evidence, the health professionals have the right to condemn the politician. However, this should be done professionally using evidence-based information to create an understanding. According to the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics, public health professionals have the right to provide evidence-based information (Kampf & Kulldorff, 2021). This information is regarding improving health and disease prevention and promoting health practices.


Almutairi, A. F., BaniMustafa, A. A., Alessa, Y. M., & Alahmad, G. (2021). Who should receive treatment? Healthcare professionals’ perspectives surrounding the medical management of patients with COVID-19. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 14, 3659.

Garfin, D. R., Silver, R. C., & Holman, E. A. (2020). The novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) outbreak: Amplification of public health consequences by media exposure. Health Psychology, 39(5), 355.

Kampf, G., & Kulldorff, M. (2021). Calling for benefit–risk evaluations of COVID-19 control measures. The Lancet, 397(10274), 576-577.

Robert, R., Kentish-Barnes, N., Boyer, A., Laurent, A., Azoulay, E., & Reignier, J. (2020). Ethical dilemmas due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Annals of Intensive Care, 10(1), 1-9.

Wibawa, T. (2021). COVID‐19 vaccine research and development: Ethical issues. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 26(1), 14-19.

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