Phillip January 8, 2024 No Comments

Capella 4000 Assessment 3

Capella 4000 Assessment 3 : Analyze a Current Health Care Problem or Issue


Capella university

NHS FPX 4000 Developing a Health Care Perspective

Prof. Name


Case Summary – To Vaccinate, or Not?

The case revolves around Jenna and Chris Smith, well-educated parents who are committed to raising their five-day-old daughter, Ana, in what they consider a natural manner. Their definition of “natural” encompasses exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and homemade organic baby food. However, the most controversial element of their parenting philosophy is their staunch opposition to vaccinating Ana. They believe the potential harms, particularly the unproven link to autism, outweigh the benefits of vaccination. On the other side of the debate is Dr. Angela Kerr, their pediatrician. Dr. Kerr employs a gamut of scientifically supported arguments in favor of vaccination, ranging from the historical successes of vaccines in reducing child mortality rates to current safety data and the ethical necessity of herd immunity.

Despite the compelling case made by Dr. Kerr, the Smiths remain steadfast in their decision not to vaccinate Ana. The primary assumption here is that both parties are operating with their best interests in mind but are drawing on different types of information and ethical considerations to reach their conclusions. This leads to an unresolved tension between individual parental autonomy and collective public health responsibilities (Capella University, 2023).

Assessment of the Ethical Case Study

The stakeholders involved in this ethical dilemma include Jenna and Chris Smith, the parents of the 5-day-old baby Ana, who oppose vaccination due to personal beliefs and independent research. Dr. Angela Kerr, their pediatrician, is also a key player. She strongly supports vaccination based on her medical expertise and understanding of public health implications. Additionally, the general public and children with weakened immune systems stand to be affected by the Smiths’ decision due to the concept of herd immunity. The following are the facts analyzed from the ethical case study that are leading to an ethical dilemma:


The Smiths’ decision is significantly influenced by unverified blogs that disseminate misinformation about vaccines. Studies show that exposure to opposing views on social media can polarize opinions, thereby affecting health choices (Larson et al., 2022). The reason for choosing this article is it provides empirical evidence that misinformation can heavily influence individual health choices, complicating the ethical landscape for healthcare providers advocating for evidence-based practices. Similarly, in our case study, misinformation did not only impact the Smiths’ decision but also reinforced their existing biases against vaccines.

Social Beliefs

Societal norms and the increasing skepticism toward vaccinations in some communities also influenced the Smiths. Research indicates that public trust and sentiment significantly affect the rate of vaccination (Miras et al., 2023). The reason for choosing this study is it bolsters this analysis by emphasizing how societal beliefs and public sentiment can form a barrier to effective healthcare interventions. These cultural and social beliefs compound the ethical problem by providing a broader environment that supports the Smiths’ decision, making it difficult for medical professionals to intervene effectively. In essence, the Smiths’ choice is not made in a vacuum but is shaped by wider social forces that further challenge ethical medical practice.

Professional Ethics

Dr. Kerr faces a complicated ethical dilemma due to her dual obligations to both the individual patient and the larger public. Medical ethics provide some guidance on maintaining this balance, emphasizing principles like beneficence and non-maleficence. Studies have shown that healthcare providers often find it challenging to navigate ethical boundaries when the personal beliefs of patients conflict with established medical advice (Simpson-Tirone et al., 2022).

The paper supports this analysis by highlighting the ethical complexities healthcare providers face where healthcare beliefs conflict with medical advice adding another layer of difficulty for Dr. Kerr in this situation. Dr. Kerr’s ethical predicament adds layers of complexity to the situation because she must consider not just the Smiths’ wishes but also the potential public health risks of an unvaccinated child. As a result, this ethical tension makes it difficult for Dr. Kerr to make a decision that is fully aligned with medical ethics, thereby contributing to the larger ethical problem.

Effectiveness of Communication Approaches in the Case Study

In the case study, Dr. Angela Kerr utilized a fact-based communication style, presenting scientific data, ethical arguments, and statistics, which included referencing credible sources like the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This approach is effective for informed-decisions and must be used to communicate with patients and their families. Although her approach was scientifically rigorous and ethically guided, studies on vaccine hesitancy suggest that facts alone are often insufficient. Research shows that tailored communication that engages empathetically with parents’ concerns is often more effective in changing vaccination behavior (Christou-Ergos et al., 2022).

While Dr. Kerr’s approach was accurate and comprehensive, it could be enhanced by adopting a more empathetic style of communication that addresses both the rational and emotional concerns of the parents. In cases like Ana’s, effective communication should blend scientific accuracy with emotional sensitivity. Dr. Kerr could enhance her interactions by incorporating empathetic listening and personalized discussions while avoiding complex medical terminology that could distance the Smiths (Haward et al., 2022). Effective communication in this manner could sway the Smiths toward vaccinating Ana, aiding both individual and public health. Conversely, if Dr. Kerr relies solely on medical facts without addressing the Smiths’ concerns, her ineffective communication could solidify their vaccine hesitancy, eroding not only their trust but potentially that of the broader community, thereby complicating ethical and public health challenges (Baldwin et al., 2023).

Effectiveness of the Approach to Ethical Practice in the Case Study

  • Moral Awareness: Dr. Kerr displayed strong moral awareness by identifying the ethical issue at hand, namely the clash between parental autonomy and public health concerns regarding Ana’s vaccination. She recognized that a decision needed to be made, setting the stage for moral judgment.
  • Moral Judgment: Dr. Kerr used moral judgment to evaluate the situation, relying on medical evidence and ethical principles. She presented scientifically-backed arguments to the Smiths in favor of vaccinating Ana. However, she did not reach a resolution, which points to a possible limitation in her approach. Studies suggest that integrating emotional and psychological elements can assist in moral judgment processes (Cameron et al., 2021).
  • Ethical Behavior: Despite being aware of the moral complexities and making a judgment based on medical ethics, her ethical behavior was incomplete (Choe et al., 2022). She respected the Smiths’ autonomy but failed to change their stance, leaving the ethical dilemma unresolved.  
Capella 4000 Assessment 3

The consequences of using effective and non-effective approaches in ethical practice can be significant. If Dr. Kerr incorporates a more holistic and empathetic dialogue into her ethical behavior, she could potentially change the Smiths’ stance on vaccination. Studies indicate that integrating emotional intelligence and ethical considerations can enhance moral judgment and lead to more effective ethical behavior (Cameron et al., 2021). An effective approach could bridge the gap between moral awareness and moral judgment, leading to ethical behavior that resolves the complex dilemma at hand.

On the flip side, if Dr. Kerr continues to rely solely on medical evidence without incorporating a more comprehensive ethical approach, the Smiths’ vaccine hesitancy is likely to remain unchanged. This limitation in ethical behavior can further perpetuate the dilemma, making it more difficult to reach an ethically sound decision (Choe et al., 2022). The ineffective approach could thereby not only leave Ana unvaccinated but also endanger public health by diminishing herd immunity.

Applying Ethical Principles to a Possible Solution 

Given the stalemate between Dr. Angela Kerr and the Smiths, a potential ethical solution would be to engage a multidisciplinary ethics committee within the healthcare organization. This committee could include medical ethicists, pediatricians, representatives from public health, and perhaps even parents who once had vaccine hesitancy but changed their minds. The purpose would be to review Ana’s case specifically and create a tailored communication strategy aimed at addressing the Smiths’ concerns more effectively (Harting et al., 2023). Dr. Kerr can present this as an option to the Smiths, emphasizing the committee’s role in considering multiple perspectives.

This approach leans on the ethical principles of beneficence and justice. Beneficence aims for the best possible health outcome for Ana and the broader public by addressing vaccine hesitancy and justice because it looks to balance individual rights with collective wellbeing. It also respects the principle of autonomy by providing the Smiths an avenue to engage in more informed decision-making.The multidisciplinary approach would likely strengthen Dr. Kerr’s effectiveness in building relationships across various disciplines within her organization.

Capella 4000 Assessment 3

By pulling in expertise from different areas, she shows a willingness to approach problems collaboratively and values the input of other professionals. This could make her a more trusted and respected figure not just within her immediate pediatric field but in the broader healthcare environment. Additionally, there is a high likelihood that this solution would foster professional collaboration.

Engaging a multidisciplinary team opens the door for ongoing dialogue about ethical dilemmas, not just for Dr. Kerr but also for other healthcare professionals. It might even set a precedent for how similar ethical dilemmas can be approached in the future, creating a template for collaboration that can be refined and reused (Simpson-Tirone et al., 2022). Overall, this proposed solution aims to bridge the gap between different ethical principles and stakeholders involved, providing a more nuanced and collaborative approach to resolving the ethical dilemma presented in Ana’s case.


Baldwin, A. S., Tiro, J. A., & Zimet, G. D. (2023). Broad perspectives in understanding vaccine hesitancy and vaccine confidence: An introduction to the special issue. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 46(1-2), 1–8. 

Cameron, C. D., Conway, P., & Scheffer, J. A. (2021). Empathy regulation, prosociality, and moral judgment. Current Opinion in Psychology. 44, 188 195. 

Capella University (2023). Ethical Case Studies. Capella Library Online. 

Choe, K., Kwon, S., & Kim, S. (2022). How do ethically competent nurses behave in clinical nursing practice? A qualitative study. Journal of Nursing Management. 30(8), 4461-4471. 

Christou-Ergos, M., Leask, J., & Wiley, K. E. (2022). How the experience of medical trauma shapes Australian non-vaccinating parents’ vaccine refusal for their children: A qualitative exploration. SSM – Qualitative Research in Health, 100143. 

Capella 4000 Assessment 3

Harting, M. T., Munson, D., Linebarger, J., Hirshberg, E., Gow, K. W., Malek, M. M., Robbins, A. J., & Turnbull, J. (2023). Ethical considerations in critically ill neonatal and pediatric patients. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 

Haward, M. F., Payot, A., Feudtner, C., & Janvier, A. (2022). Personalized communication with parents of children born at less than 25 weeks: Moving from doctor-driven to parent-personalized discussions. Seminars in Perinatology, 46(2), 151551. 

Larson, H. J., Lin, L., & Goble, R. (2022). Vaccines and the social amplification of risk. Risk Analysis, 42(7). 

Miras, A. P., Regencia, Z. J. G., & Baja, E. S. (2023). ‘I was terrified for my child’: understanding the link between the Dengvaxia® controversy and the measles vaccine hesitancy in Pasay City, Philippines. Journal of Public Health, fdad091. 

Simpson-Tirone, M., Jansen, S., & Swinton, M. (2022). Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) care coordination: Navigating ethics and access in the emergence of a new health profession. HEC Forum. 

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