Ethical Leadership in Health Systems Management

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Servant leadership can be found at all levels of hospitals and health systems. Each individual nurse and physician, whether or not they hold team seniority, can exhibit the principles of ethical leadership. But for health care administrators and managers, ethical leadership is particularly crucial because it facilitates a positive, collaborative and ethical workplace culture. Here’s a quick look at some of the issues regarding ethical leadership you may explore as you pursue your MBA in Health Systems Management.

Determining the Health System’s Core Mission and Values

Every hospital, no matter its size, needs a written statement that reflects its core mission and values. As a health care administrator, you may need to review and revise your hospital’s current core values, or draft a new statement entirely. Your value statements should present a firm viewpoint of what each employee does and how each patient is treated. Some examples of value statements include the following:

  • We treat all patients and visitors with compassion and respect.
  • We act with uncompromising honesty and integrity in all that we do.
  • We value and respect each of our colleagues as important members of the health care team.
  • We continually strive for health care excellence through quality assurance and continuing education.

Providing Ongoing Ethics Training Opportunities

Your value statements set the standard for the health care teams throughout the hospital, but they are only the beginning. Employees also need ongoing ethics training opportunities. Ethics training workshops should empower employees to develop a better understanding of ethical principles in health care, health care compliance issues and patient care standards. Employees should be well-versed in all of the hospital’s ethical and legal requirements. Specifically, ethics training sessions can focus on the four pillars of medical ethics:

  • Autonomy
  • Beneficence
  • Non-maleficence
  • Justice

Establishing Protocols for Ethical Violation Reporting

Ethics in health care isn’t just about doing the right thing. It’s also about speaking up and taking action when one observes violations of ethical standards. In order to encourage ethical violation reporting, health care administrators may need to reframe employees’ mindset toward reporting, since whistle-blowing tends to have an unfavorable reputation. Health care administrators can stress that reporting ethical violations:

  • Is a principled and just action to take
  • Protects the safety, welfare and rights of patients
  • Promotes a better, more patient-centric hospital community

Ethics violation reporting prioritizes the patient above all else and employees should perceive this activity as a beneficial action, rather than a last resort. To empower employees to report violations, health care administrators must establish reporting procedures that protect the reporting employee from any actual or perceived repercussions. Furthermore, ethics violation reporting can lead to more than just a discussion with the violating employee. It can also help administrators identify ethical issues that the entire hospital community can benefit from reviewing.

Each of the degree programs available from Grand Canyon University emphasizes ethical decision-making, a Christian worldview, and servant leadership. Our Colangelo College of Business invites health care management professionals to apply for our Master of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Health Systems Management degree program. Look for the Request More Information button at the top of the website to begin enhancing your career path.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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