From my experience as a clinical nurse, the ethical principles contributing to control policies during COVID-19 in my workplace are:
1. Justice: Since during the pandemic, only certain units in my hospital can admit COVID-19 patients, and some wards consistently receive heavier workloads due to having negative pressure rooms. Therefore, with the crisis situation, the equity in the distribution of resources is crucial. Many nurses are forced to place on their unfamiliar units which is stressful. But in order to provide the care with fairness to both patients and between staff themselves, we all adhered to the hospital policies.
2. Transparency: We maintain transparency by promptly sharing situations involving staff at risk of COVID-19 with the infection control department, without fear of blame. For instance, when a staff member has suspected symptoms or infected, we immediately report to the infection control so they can implement stricter policies. Additionally, we communicate openly with patients’ families, ensuring they understand the hospital’s situation and cooperate with the control policies.
3. Non-maleficence: When individuals feel unwell or suspect symptoms, we report to supervisors immediately and avoid contact with patients or coworkers to prevent transmission, thereby protecting others from infection. Also during the pandemic, despite exhaustion and discomfort from wearing tight protective equipment, we strictly adhere to policies to prevent disease spread to patients and between co-workers.
4.Beneficence: Despite the fear especially during the pandemic’s first and second wave as it had very high mortality rate worldwide, as frontline workers, we strive to help patients survive. Moreover, We also recognize the challenges faced by patients separated from their families and offer video calls as an alternative to visiting to provide holistic care.