Integrated Ethical Problem-Solving Model

Integrated Ethical Problem-Solving Model

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Integrated Ethical Problem-Solving Model

Introduction and Overview

            The integrated ethical problem solving model is considered a modern approach that can be used to solve ethical dilemmas, whether in the workplace, home, or other environments (Woiceshyn, 2011; Park, 2012). The report focuses on the ethical behaviors and responsibilities for staff members towards one another in the workplace. The forms of relationships developed within the workplace environment determine how efficiently people will communicate, coordinate, and treat one another. Failure to fulfill one’s ethical responsibilities leads to poor productivity. In a setting where staff members work as teams, the failure of one member will ultimately reflect on the rest of the team. With the main aim being to increase the overall positive outcomes for patients, there is a need for nurses and other health personnel to coordinate in such a way that every member makes positive contributions (Crossan et al., 2013). The integrated ethical problem solving method is then considered for a problem where a fellow staff member fails to attend work, leading to other people covering for her shift. Within the model, various solutions will be considered to determine how to best approach this problem. The main aim is to ensure that a satisfactory outcome for all parties is reached.

Background and Scope of the Problem

The problem is centered on Stacy, a fellow nursing practitioner who has of late been missing her shift more frequently than usual. In the three years that I have worked with Stacy, she has proven to be a hardworking professional with a high quality work ethic, efficiency, and a passion for helping others. Essentially, she has made positive contributions to our larger pediatric team. However, Stacy’s Husband Jake, who works in the military, has recently been deployed to Afghanistan for an 18-month tour.

Prior to this, he had not gone for a tour in over a year. He was a supportive husband, especially with the responsibilities surrounding taking care of their two children (June who is six years and Seth who is two and a half years old). Some of the responsibilities that Jake took on included taking the kids to school, picking them up, making snacks, and helping with homework, among a few others. Stacy would often prepare dinner, help the children to clean, and carry out most of the other household tasks. However, after her husband left, Stacy was left with all these responsibilities that were compounded by the fact that she had a full time job. She was unable to afford a house manager who would also care for her children because she had many other financial responsibilities, and it was difficult to find a trusted nanny. It was, as a result, highly challenging to ensure that all her tasks were finished now that her husband was unavailable.

What resulted from this was that Stacy used her leave days before the end of the third month. She often had to leave work early because she had to pick her children from school. It affected the way my team members and I worked because we needed to cover the rest of the work for her. She often needed to take time off to take one of her children to a clinic when they got sick. She came to work exhausted because she took care of her young son who was severely ill in a particular week. In another instance, she needed to attend school for one of her children’s school performances, thereby missing half a day of work.

The effect of this is that many of our team members took over her shift, which increased our workload. Despite the fact that she had missed work frequently over the past weeks, she has previously proven to be hard working. Consequently, we as team members decided not to report her to the supervisor. It would have likely led to her employment termination, and most of us agreed that she did not deserve this. Nevertheless, we also realized that she was unable to cover many of her shifts, and this affected our productivity as well as performance. For instance, her missing a whole day of work meant that one person would work double shift to cover for her. It would thus lead to significant fatigue and poor quality service provision to patients. Overall, the people who were most affected by this problem were my team members and I.

Attempted Solutions and Outcomes

            In the first weeks, my team members and I opted to speak with the supervisor and provide an alternative shift schedule that would be more convenient for Stacy. This would allow her to take many of the responsibilities at home as well as fulfill her professional tasks. However, even after her shift was changed to early morning from late afternoon, she was still unable to attend work on many occasions.

Integrated Ethical Problem-Solving Model

            The integrated ethical problem-solving model provides a structured technique towards addressing ethical challenges (Elwyn et al., 2012). It involves a critical assessment of the problem, analysis, and development of feasible solutions. Furthermore, it provides strategies that prevent similar problems from occurring in the future (Thiel et al., 2012). The model can then be applied in the problem above through a systematic approach as follows:

Stating of the problem: The main problem presented is a lack of work attendance by a nursing practitioner Stacy who works in the pediatric department. Her lack of attendance has led to team members taking over her shift, and thus causing a work overload. Over time, Stacy has not been able to improve on her attendance owing to her non-professional responsibilities.

Analysis of the problem: Because Stacy is taking care of her two young children alone, she is burdened with additional responsibilities that make her unable to attend work fully. A large percentage of her working hours are taken up by the demands of taking care of two young, school-going children who need constant attention. The younger son has fallen ill occasionally in the past. This has led to her using her leave days, and still requiring more time off work in order to take care of him. Stacy has searched for a nanny who would be able to take care of her children while she is at work. This would solve many of her problems because it would mean full attendance. However, Stacy and her husband have not had good experiences with nannies in the past. She is consequently overly cautious about who she leaves her children with. Additionally, the wages of an experienced nanny have shot up recently, and she would not be able to afford one at that moment. I, as a team member, have found it particularly taxing to cover for her on a frequent basis, mainly because I do not have as many non-professional responsibilities as my other colleagues. In the last three weeks, I have opted to work at least two double nine-hour shifts in order to ensure that her part of the work is completed.

Available alternatives: One alternative is to report Stacy to the supervisor, which would be potentially damaging to her. A possible consequence is Stacy losing her job, and with two kids to take care of, this would be devastating to her. Another potential solution would be to ask Stacy to apply to work part time instead of full time. This way, Stacy will be able to develop a more flexible working schedule that would allow her to spend more time taking care of her children.

The best alternative: The best possible alternative that would yield a satisfactory result for all parties would be for Stacy to apply to work part time in place of her full time employment. Thus, a satisficing solution would be needed. Through this, Stacy will be able to relieve the burden of overworking among her team members. More personnel would be hired or transferred from another department to cover for the time that she would be missing. However, one disadvantage for Stacy is that working part time will translate to a reduced salary.

Strategies for successful implementation and action: The initial step in implementation is communication among all affected parties. This will involve communication between Stacy, my team members and I.

Evaluation of outcomes: The ethical decision making model takes into account the needs and interests of each party. In this case, team members will be able to benefit from the regular schedule in which they will continue working. They will then not experience work overload, which may potentially affect their quality of service delivery in a negative way. Additionally, through working on a part time basis and with a more flexible schedule, Stacy will be able to take better care for her children without laying the burden of extra responsibility to her team members.

Prevention of a similar problem: The problem could have been prevented if communication was incorporated from the beginning. Foremost, Stacy could have notified her team members in the pediatric department as well as the supervisor that she would be unable to complete the full nine-hour shift. In response, the supervisor would have been able to reframe her working schedule. In the future, the problem can be prevented by prompt notification of the existing challenges that may affect the capacity of a nursing practitioner to work effectively.


            The integrated ethical problem solving method is a modern approach used to solve ethical dilemmas in the workplace. It involves a critical assessment of the problem, analysis, and development of feasible solutions. Certain types of relationships in the workplace determine how efficiently people will communicate, coordinate, and treat one another. In the discussed scenario, the ethical problem has been approached through critical evaluation of the issue presented, followed by a satisficing solution which provides satisfactory results for each involved party. For Stacy, her capacity to work under a more flexible schedule has allowed her to take care of other important family responsibilities. For the team members and me, the workload has been reduced to the normal rates. This has allowed us to work more efficiently.


Crossan, M., Mazutis, D., & Seijts, G. (2013). In search of virtue: The role of virtues, values and character strengths in ethical Decision-making. Journal of Business Ethics, 113(4), 567-581.

Elwyn, G., Frosch, D., Thomson, R., Joseph-Williams, N., Lloyd, A., Kinnersley, P., & Edwards, A. (2012). Shared decision-making: a model for clinical practice. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 27(10), 1361-1367.

Park, E. J. (2012). An integrated ethical decision-making model for nurses. Nursing Ethics, 19(1), 139-159.

Thiel, C. E., Bagdasarov, Z., Harkrider, L., Johnson, J. F., & Mumford, M. D. (2012). Leader ethical decision-making in organizations: Strategies for sense making. Journal of Business Ethics, 107(1), 49-64.

Woiceshyn, J. (2011). A model for ethical decision making in business: Reasoning, intuition, and rational moral principles. Journal of Business Ethics, 104(3), 311-323.

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