Individual Right Versus the Collective Good
Most of the recent successes in improving the public’4 s health has had to address the tension of individual rights versus the collective good. Anti-smoking campaigns and laws banning smoking in public places protect people from the negative health effects of second-hand smoke, yet some believe that they infringe on the individual rights of those who choose to smoke.
This tension also exists in the allocation of scarce resources, from providing adequate staff coverage to making decisions about the amount of health care to provide. Given the nurse’s involvement in policy and health care delivery, it is important to understand the dynamics of this tension, as well as the legal and ethical implications.
Requiring childhood immunizations has helped prevent diseases such as polio and measles, but some parents assert that they have the right to decide if being immunized is in the best interest of their children.
- select one example of timely health care policy that allows you to evaluate the tension between individual rights and the collective good. Conduct additional research as necessary using credible websites and the Walden Library.
- When have you encountered a tension between the individual right and the collective good in your nursing practice?
- With information from the Learning Resources in mind, consider relatively recent examples of health care policy that demonstrate this tension.