Ethical Decision Making Nicole`s Case Study

EthicalDecision Making: Nicole’s Case Study

EthicalDecision Making: Nicole’s Case Study

Nicoleis an early intervention occupational therapist who was faced withmoral distress of deciding the course of action to take after findingthe Client’s mother feeding her prior to medical clearance(Doherty, 2013, p. 420). The right course of action was to disclosethe information to team members but this would harm the emotionalrelationship she had with the mother and the child.

Courseof action

Asan occupational therapist, the correct course of action I could havetaken was to discuss with the mother about her daughter’s safetyand the consequences of her actions in a supportive way. Byexplaining to her that her actions were unpleasant in relation to herdaughter’s safety, she might have gained more knowledge about thesituation and allow a discussion with other team members. Giving theinformation to another source supports an obligation to ensure thatGabriella and other family members were safe.

Justificationfor the course of action taken

Byassisting the mother with understanding the magnitude of her actionsand gaining her consent to carry out a discussion with other teammembers, I would be engaging in collaborative work, which promotesrespect and trust. Trust and respect are gained through theprinciples of transparency and honesty during the discussion. Byinitially not informing other team members about her action withouther consent places more weight on the principle of autonomy.According to the American Occupational Therapy association (2015), itis the duty of practitioners to treat clients according to theirwishes (p.4). Also, by prioritizing prevention of harm from occurringto Gabriella, I was acting within the principle of beneficence.

Personaland professional experience, beliefs, and perspectives influencingthe course of action

Asan occupational therapist, my decision to take this course of actionwas influenced by personal and professional experience, beliefs, andalso my perspectives. I felt that it was necessary to educateGabriella’s mother about the harm that the feeding could havecaused to her daughter and at the same time show concern and care forher. I felt that Gabriella needed the best out of it all. Her safetywas the priority. Specifically, I integrated the process intoGabriella’s treatment by emphasizing on the importance of tellingother team members who might have different abilities to manage orassess the risk of harm. Robertson (2012) suggests that beliefs,perspectives, and professional experience of an occupationaltherapist have an impact on action taken in remarkable ways (p.10).Therefore these beliefs shape our practice and are well integratedinto our professional skills and into our automatic responses.


AmericanOccupational Therapy Association. (2015). Occupational therapy codeof ethics. AmericanJournal of Occupational Therapy, 69(3),1-10. Retrieved from

Doherty,F. R. (2013).Applying the Ethical Decision Making Process. In Schell,A. B., Gillen, G., Scaffa, E. M., &amp Cohn, S. E. Willardand Spackman`s Occupational Therapy (12ed., p. 420-421). New York: Lippincott Williams &amp Wilkins.

Robertson,L. (2012). ClinicalReasoning in Occupational Therapy: Controversies in Practice. New Jersey: John Wiley &amp Sons.