HPPA 514: Biomedical Ethics- Biomedical Ethics Paper

HPPA 514: Biomedical Ethics- Biomedical Ethics Paper

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A.  I will explain my choice to be a PA using dignity, beneficence, and autonomy as support for my reasoning in valuing flexibility and healthcare equality to make an ethical guideline for future clinical practice.

B. Physician Assistants work autonomously ensuring all individuals have access to quality healthcare. Due to their high demand and flexibility, they can find a job almost anywhere within the United States so I won’t be limited to geographic location or to a specific specialty. PAs also make a livable wage with opportunity for growth. More importantly, Physician Assistants focus on providing patient-centered care to at-risk populations. As the healthcare environment changes to focus on cost, midlevel providers fill the gaps of healthcare disparities. It is important to me to find a challenging, but rewarding career working towards a goal larger than myself helping other human beings in their journey, and I cannot think of a better solution than to improve the lives of others through improved health.

C. Physician Assistants have unique flexibility to tailor career to fit lifestyle. If current trends continue, Physicians Assistants will continue to be in high demand and can change specialties; life is fluid, I may have to change specialities or employment status as my life develops depending on external circumstances like family issues or location. I think equality in treatment will be important, as I see healthcare as a right intrinsic to all human beings; Physician Assistants help to fill the gap in healthcare disparities by acting as cost-effective providers to at-risk areas. I hope to one day provide healthcare globally to underserved populations in an organization like Doctors Without Borders.

D + E.I anticipate  autonomy, dignity, and beneficence will play the most important roles in my ethical decision making as a PA. Autonomy is the ability to determine ones’ course in life consistent with inherent values (Yeo et al., 90). Free action, the ability to do as one wishes without force or external limitation to freedom, is an integral concept of autonomy and applies perfectly to the flexibility of the PA profession (Yeo et al., 93). Though some limitations inherently exist,  I will have greater free action as a healthcare professional to best align my professional life to the inherent values I place on family; I could decide to work part-time while my children are young.

Both dignity and beneficence support the concept of equality in healthcare.Dignity measures value placed on human life in which two categories arise: intrinsic or value stemming from existence, and attributed, or an individual’s value from others through attribution (Sulmasy, 938). Beneficence is the duty to prevent, remove, or alleviate harm increasing overall net benefit to all involved (Yeo et al., 103). Intrinsic dignity argues all patients have equal value through existence alone and so should receive equal access to similar healthcare regardless of race, creed, income level, or other similar factors (Sulmasy, 938).  Because one must be alive or in existence to establish human intrinsic dignity as it pertains to this course, in treating physical health, my patients can further maintain intrinsic dignity to then fully appreciate the breadth of his or her life. Additionally, because I will be giving this gift to others, I will theoretically enhance my attributed dignity, as most humans place high value on those treating disease (Sulmasy, 938). Physician Assistants serve as vehicles of equality by emphasizing on the treatment and diagnosis of underserved populations and are cost-effective; organizations often use PAs to increase patient load, increasing the resources for  a greater amount of people, enhancing net benefit— beneficence— and reducing harmful disease sates or maleficence within a community (Yeo et al., 938).

F. I explored the roles both flexibility and healthcare equality play in my choice to become a PA, using dignity, beneficence, and autonomy as support to best create a guideline for future clinical practice.


AAPA. (2013). Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession. Available online: https://www.aapa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/16-EthicalConduct.pdf.

Baillie, L, Gallagher, A, Wainwright, P. (2008). Defending dignity: Challenges and opportunities for nursing. London: Royal College of Nursing. Available online: https://www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/publications/pub-003257.  (It’s long; read lightly to get a sense of the domains of dignity in clinical practice according to the RCN.

Ballweg, R. (2013). Physician assistant: a guide to clinical practice. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier/Saunders

Department of Health, 2000. Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safe guard and promote the welfare of children. The Stationary Office, London.

Haidet, P. & Paternitti, DA. (2003). “Building” a history rather than “taking” one.  Archives of Internal Medicine 163, 1134-1140.

Jenkin, A. & Millward J. (2006). A moral dilemma in the emergency room: Confidentiality and domestic violence. Accident and Emergency Nursing, 14 (1), pp. 38-42. doi: 10.1016/j.aaeen.2005.11.002

Kirk, TW. (2014). Staying at home: Risk, accommodation, and ethics in hospice careJournal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 16(4), 200-205. 

Sulmasy, DP. (2013). The varieties of human dignity: A logical and conceptual analysis. Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy, 16(4), 937-44.

Yeo, M., Moorhouse, A., & Dalziel, J., (2010). (From the following)

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