Patient Advocacy and Autonomy


PatientAdvocacy and Autonomy

Adherenceto ethics is essential in clinical trials and research. Suchconsiderations help in safeguarding the interests of theparticipants. Clinical trials are subtle uncertainties and risks thatcan cause psychological or physical harm to the participants.However, the matter continues to generate debate among the scholarson the best approach to use when using human elements in clinicaltrials. Other issues that are considered alongside ethics includeconfidentiality and informed consent. It is expected thatparticipants in clinical trials are giving all information regardingthe research exercise prior to their participation. However, it isquite difficult to utilize certain elements of ethics such asconfidentiality when using animals. Moreover, informed consent is akey component in a research study as it allows the participants toget informed about the exercise. This allows the participants to actindependently without influences from either the sponsors or theresearcher. Autonomy and patient advocacy are essential in enhancingin clinical exercises. It is necessary that ethical guidelines arespelt out before the clinical trials are performed. Ethicalguidelines during clinical trials help in protecting the interests ofthe subjects.


Itis a requirement that research studies should ensure that high-levelof ethics is observed to protect the participants. The participantsmust be privy to essential details about the exercise. This ensuresthat the participants enjoy their rights and freedom whenparticipating in the exercise. All these issues must be protectedthrough a written consent prior to the exercise. In fact, it isappropriate that the researchers write to the relevant authorities toseek permission and guidance on how to engage in an ethical exercise.Ethical procedures, according to Munhall (2007), allow theparticipants to make informed choices. Various bodies haveestablished guidelines that are supposed to be followed by theresearchers during such an exercise. Some of the ethical principlesinclude informed consent, privacy, and confidentiality, and respectfor human elements, among others. Besides the researchers, theparticipants must be adequately briefed about the exercise. It is atthis point that the participants are informed on the effects ofparticipating in the exercise. Adherence to ethical principles shouldallow participants to engage in an exercise without coercion,penalties or fines.

Theparticipants should be well informed about issues such as time andenergy that are required for their participation in a research study.This enables them to think and understand independently about theconsequences of participating in the exercise. The informed consentallows the participants to either participate or decline.Beauchamp,Tom and James (2001) observe that there is need to have the principleof beneficence that should at promoting the interests of theparticipants. At all times, the participants need to be respecteddespite their engagements. This element of respect happens to enhancethe justice of the participants by guaranteeing their social safety.While criminal justice focuses on the practical, applied concerns,social researches form the basis of understanding the societalreaction to social life and academic arena. It is considered thatmental status of an individual and welfare is considered even whenrecommending medication. Using this approach, the practitioners usethe moral and ethical guidelines in the promotion of health outcomes.

Ethicalconsiderations help in the reduction of biased results in a researchstudy. Researchers face legal cases when they fail to observeresearch ethics. Such actions have negative effects on the findingsand the research exercise in general. The researcher should give allthe guidelines regarding their studies to enable the participantsmake informed decisions and choices. While it is possible toeliminate fully the use of human elements in research studies, thepractice should be minimized through identification other approachesto perform the clinical trials.The researchers experimenting on animals can use alternative methodsin their laboratory experiments. Researchers are encouraged to useappropriate medicines when killing or operating the animals in thelaboratory. Elaborate consideration of the research ethics is vitalto reduce incidences of biased results and unnecessary criticisms(Beauchamp, Tom &amp James, 2001). Foregoing clinical treatment, forinstance, does not in any way reflect what is morally right.Safeguarding life of a natural being is a moral obligation thatencompasses a number of issues. Why would one allow people to die outof a disease that can be prevented through medical treatment? Wouldsuch an individual be considered morally upright? Such are thequestions that every individual should consider when making ethicalchoices on health matters. Patient advocacy seeks to promote thewellbeing of an individual in the determination of what is morallyand ethically right in terms of medication. Further, provision ofsafer approaches and/or alternatives assists in offering the patientswith varied means through which to use in order to recover from theirillness. Autonomy, for instance, demands respect for the elderly whoare living in the nursing homes (Morrison &amp Monagle, 2009).

InstitutionalReview Boards (IRBs), created in 1974, seeks to examine researchideas in order to eliminate the incidences that may result to themistreatment and suffering of the participants involved in a clinicaltrial (Fiske, 2009). The researchers are required to respect anduphold human rights, give informed consent, provide benefits ofresearch, and evaluate the risks involved in order to get theapproval of the IRB. Nonetheless, according to Fiske (2009), researchpsychologists argue that IRB dampen the development of researchideas, and therefore it obstructs beneficial ideas (p. 31). Thecontrol aspect is an area that creates differences between thepsychologists and the IRB. Fiske (2009) suggests that IRB shouldadopt a collaborative approach that will promote good ideas (p. 32).In addition, IRB should develop acceptable guidelines that will endthe criticism from the research psychologists. Ethicalvalues would require an individual to be mindful about the life ofhuman elements. In retrospect, adherence to ethical and moralguidelines should guide the health practitioners and researchers whenthey are undertaking their duties.


Dependingon the approach taken by a researcher regarding the ethicalconsiderations, both negative and positive results can be realized.Looking at the recommended ethical principles, it is quite clear thathuman elements in clinical trials must be accorded great respect.Relevant bodies need to create awareness on the need to observeethical guidelines during clinical trials. Awareness campaigns areimportant in addressing the ethical issues and may include safetymeasures and handling information. Respect for human elements remainsessential in clinical trials and medication. Nonetheless, theopinions are divided due diversity in what constitutes moral valuesand consent of individual. It is prudent that both moral values andethical guidelines are considered to advocate for the appropriatepolicies that guides usage of human elements in clinical trials.


Beauchamp,T. L., &amp James F. C., (2001). Principlesof Biomedical Ethics.Oxford [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press.

Fiske,S.T. (2009). Institutional review boards: From bane to benefit.Perspectiveson Psychological Science, 4(1),30-31.

Morrison,E. E., &amp Monagle, J. F. (2009). Healthcare ethics: Critical issues for the 21st century.Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Munhall,P. (2007). Nursingresearch a qualitative perspective(4th ed.). Sudbury Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett