Healthcare Leadership and Its Ethical Principles

Ethical principles are vital and their role in all sectors of humanity cannot be underscored. Scholars such as Goetghebeur, Wagner, Bond, and Hofmann (2015) have defined ethics as guidelines and policies that govern the behavior of individuals in workplaces, learning institutions, and societies. In healthcare facilities, ethical principles direct the conduct of practitioners, healthcare operations, and ensure that the well-being of patients and the practitioners is fair in all aspects. Some of the ethical principles, which are pivotal in the healthcare sector, include beneficence, justice, autonomy, and non-maleficence. In this regard, the paper selects and examines the relevance of two ethical principles, which comprise autonomy and non- maleficence in healthcare leadership. To address the principles effectively, the paper dissects its content into three sections before providing a summary concerning the discussed ideas.

Definition and explanation of the selected ethical principles

The two ethical principles autonomy and non-maleficence are vital for leaders in healthcare facilities. While autonomy relates to patients’ independence and the right to choose, non-maleficence centers on the minimization of harm inflicted on patients while administering treatment. Goetghebeur et al. (2015) explain that the delivery of services in healthcare facilities should always be in accordance with the desires of patients. Therefore, medical practitioners in the sector of health should ensure that the demands presented by patients receive due consideration before and during administration of treatment. In healthcare facilities, autonomy applies to all spheres of service delivery where patients have the liberty to choose the nature of service that they wish to receive. Healthcare settings, such as delivery settings evidence the principle of autonomy. According to Ferrari, Carvalhaes, and Parada (2016), personal consent in times of delivery between cesarean and normal delivery are among the main expressions where the hospitals utilize the principle of autonomy.

Consequently, the principle of non-maleficence concerns the minimization of harm and the maximization of good outcomes during service delivery. Fundamentally, non-maleficence revolves around the fact that nurses and doctors should avoid inflicting harm on patients unless the situation proves otherwise (Goetghebeur et al., 2015). In scenarios where harm is unavoidable, the practitioners in the health sector should explain the issue to patients in an honest manner. Bradley (2017) notes that the wide range of treatment options available for diseases like cancer focus on improving the quality of treatment and minimizing the level of harm experienced by patients during service delivery. Therefore, it is clear that the oncology setting of healthcare facilities applies the principle of non-maleficence.

How the selected ethical principles prevents leadership concerns within healthcare

Apparently, the two ethical principles autonomy and non-maleficence play an integral role in preventing and solving a range of healthcare concerns faced by leaders in medical facilities. Goetghebeur et al. (2015) allude that the principle of autonomy, for instance, prevents dissatisfaction that emerges when patients receive treatment that is against their wishes. By practicing the principle of autonomy, leaders in health facilities not only minimize instances of dissatisfaction but also prevent inefficiencies faced by patients during treatment. Research undertaken by Bradley (2017) indicates that the application of ethical principles such as non-maleficence in healthcare facilities prevents and minimizes scenarios where nurses or doctors deliver services that are below the expected standards. When patients have the power to make decisions on treatment, they can always question the kind of treatment accorded to them and the scale of harm inflicted in line with the principle of non-maleficence. As such, the two principles are vital in ensuring that leaders monitor the conduct of their subordinates so that the process of service delivery prevents and solves dissatisfaction or harm experienced by patients.

How the leader will incorporate the selected ethical principles into their leadership activities

As a leader in a healthcare facility, I will always incorporate ethical principles into my activities. Furthermore, I will strive to ensure that my subordinates exercise the principles of autonomy and non-maleficence so that the quality of care and treatment accorded to patients becomes high-end and matches the expected standards. The principle of autonomy, for instance, can be incorporated in all areas of service delivery where I will encourage my subordinates to provide services that are within the wishes of patients. Subsequently, I will exercise the principle of non-maleficence by encouraging my subordinates to utilize processes that cause minimal harm.

In cases where autonomy and minimal harm may be compromised, I will challenge my team to provide a comprehensive explanation to the patient so that the process of service delivery becomes devoid of dissatisfactions introduced by unfair treatment. On several occasions, I will work with the team in delivering the services to patients while ensuring that they adhere to the principles. Besides enabling me to handle teams and deliver superb services to patients in a medical facility, the principles will also expand the opportunities for my team and myself as the leader. The opportunities will place my team and me in a better position of rising in my future leadership as I strive to continue delivering high-quality services in the medical sector.


Ethical principles are important in a healthcare facility. The benefits of incorporating the principles in healthcare leadership encompass the conduct of nurses and doctors, the quality of treatment accorded to patients, and the level of satisfaction derived after service delivery. Other benefits comprise seamless processes of treatment and improved reputation of the team and the leader utilizing the principles. The paper focused on two principles, autonomy and non-maleficence, and examined their relevance to a leader in a medical facility. Through the discussion in the paper, I have learned that ethical principles are vital in enhancing the services delivered by medical practitioners and that leaders in healthcare facilities should apply them in their daily activities.


Bradley, L. (2017). Non-maleficence: Perspective of a medical student. Br J Gen Pract67(659), 252-252.

Ferrari, A., Carvalhaes, M., & Parada, C. (2016). Association between prenatal and parturition in the supplementary health network and elective cesarean section. Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia, 19(1), 75-88.

Goetghebeur, M., Wagner, M., Bond, K., & Hofmann, B. (2015). Analysis of ethical theories and principles embedded in holistic MCDA: A primer to ethics-based appraisal of value in healthcare. Value in Health, 18(3), 78-101.

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