Students learn legal, ethical implications in real-world setting

Published 10:09 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Students from across Warren Central High School and Vicksburg High School got to learn the real-world importance of what they’re learning in their health science course at Hinds Community College during a trip to Merit Health River Region Medical Center Friday.

Instructor Eloise Ford, also a registered nurse, said the students had the opportunity to learn about legal and ethical responsibilities in a healthcare setting and the trip is built into their curriculum.

“They are going to the court house to see a legal case,” she said. “It’s going to have a lot of ethics involved.”

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The students will be tested on the material from their trip to the hospital and the court house, Ford said.

“We want to increase their overall knowledge of ethical and legal responsibilities that they’ll have as healthcare workers, whether it’s a nurse, a respiratory therapist, a physical therapist or whatever branch of service they desire in the healthcare field,” she said.

Warren Central High School junior Markease Burkley said he learned a lot about legal and ethical issues in the health profession from his trip to the hospital.

“They taught us a lot of stuff about how to wash your hands and how not to spread infections to other coworkers in your job,” he said. “They taught us when someone has a big virus what to put on so you don’t catch it.”

In addition to a briefing on hygiene and personal protective equipment, the students also learned about legal and ethical issues from Merit Health River Region risk management director Renee Fletcher.

“We learned about things you can and can’t say about a patient,” he said. “You can’t talk about what’s going on with your patients. If a person has AIDS, you can’t go home and say, ‘Baby, my client has AIDS, let me tell you about it.’”

Fletcher said Ford told her about the introductory healthcare class and asked if she could talk to them about legal and ethical implications.

“I talked to them about the importance of following their job description when they’re hired and other basic things,” she said. “They have the responsibility of working with people’s lives, so we have to be confidential with that information.”

Fletcher explained how important it was to protect patients’ confidentiality and told the students that everyone is held accountable.

“You have to be qualified and trained,” she said. “When you sign your name, that give the accountability to what you’re doing. You have to know what you’re doing and you have to follow your policies.”

In addition, Fletcher talked to students about the importance of being a good employee.

“We talked about customer service and treating our patients with respect,” she said. “It’s important to treat others the way you want to be treated. People like the people who are taking care of them to be following the rules and regulations.”