Women's Healthcare Conflicts: Patient Autonomy

This paper explores conflicts that arise with patient autonomy ideals and implementation in women’s healthcare. The main ideas presented on patient autonomy conflicts are Coercion, discrimination, and education. Highlighting the many issues involved in the ideals and actual conditions of patient autonomy performed a literature review pin pointing the issues in the paid and unpaid sector of healthcare. Furthermore, their needs to be more emphasizes on patient autonomy implementation and recognize the imperfections that need to be addressed.

In Canadian society women are seen as a homogenous group, one size fits all mentality but in actuality women’s healthcare issues are far greater in complexity.

There are issues with autonomy because of coercion, discrimination, and lack of education that cause different needs between each individual. Patient autonomy looks good on paper but has vast problems during implantation in women’s healthcare. These highlighted conflicts with patient autonomy ideals show for room for improvement.

Patient decisions are considered to be autonomous if the patient is:

  • deemed to be sufficiently competent (rational) to make the decision at issue,
  • makes a (reasonable) choice from a set of available options,
  • has adequate information and understanding about the available choices, and
  • free from explicit coercion toward (or away from) one of those options.

Furthermore, Sherwin illustrates these key points are the foundations of true autonomy but in fact physicians can cause coercion by their own personal research or financial gain. Without a strong principle of respect for patient autonomy, patients are vulnerable to abuse or exploitation, when their weak and dependent position makes them easy targets to serve the interests (e g, financial, academic, or social influence) of others.

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In authenticity there are gaps in patient autonomy that enable patients to be coerced by the individuals (their physicians) they put their trust in and seek guidance from, this gives an idea where to start and fixed these problems to achieve a more solid form of autonomy.

Problems arise with respect to stereotypical assumptions about members of racial minorities, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, welfare recipients, people from developing countries, those who are non-literate and so on (Sherwin, S., 1998, P.26). Assumptions create a prejudice against these groups of individuals that is against the basic guidelines of autonomy but is being implemented into women’s healthcare experience because the physician is letting their stereotyping cloud their judgment.

Health care providers must become sensitive to the ways in which oppressive stereotypes can undermine their ability to recognize some sorts of patients as being rational or competent (Sherwin, S., 1998, P.26). To become truly autonomous healthcare providers need to make changes of how they practice to reach equality for women.

Having the knowledge of seeking the right resources is an advantage that many women do not have because they lack in health care education. Women’s health varies greatly depending on socioeconomic status, class, race, ethnicity, and education (Zeldes, K. Cupaiuolo, C., P.779). This major disadvantage causes patients to feel inadequate to their physicians, which is supported by Sherwin (Sherwin, S., 1998, P.27).

Patients often feel too intimidated to ask or even formulate questions, especially when they feel socially intellectually inferior to their physicians and when the physicians project an image of being busy with more important demands (Sherwin, S., 1998, P.27). Furthermore, this leaves women with only one option and the physician makes that because she or he does not stop to ask if the patient has questions or feels comfortable enough to ask questions.

There will always be room for improvement but takes determination to take problems and find solutions. Patient autonomy can change if patients demand for change in how theirn healthcare is being received and compassion from physicians to change how they practice medicine and want to change their outlook on patient care. causes and problems of gender expectations in the healthcare system, usually burdening women. Moreover the findings I found are that women are under appreciated in the unpaid and paid sector of health care expected to fill what is expected of them as women as caregivers. There are underlying issues that need to be educated upon to improve the health system for women.

Women are the front tier of health care because they make up 80% of the paid, unpaid caregivers of the field. Paid health care workers are suppose to live up to the standard of the ideal women and do not expect feminism because they feel they are powerless. Gender expectations are put upon unpaid health care providers because it is considered to be a “female” job and the burden of caring for their ill loved ones recovery is put upon them. These issues can be changed by support by the government and taking gender into an account.

Gender expectations affect many women in society but especially in the paid sector of the Health care system. This has led critics to conclude that nurses are unwilling to embrace feminism because they do not want to give up the image of themselves as “ideal women” (S. Letvak, 2001). S. Letvak (2001) further explains that women feel that they are powerless so they crave having an authoritative person such as a doctor making all the major decisions.

Many members of the public perceive nurses as powerless, and this belief is reinforced by nurses’ perceptions of themselves as powerless (S. Letvak, 2001). These interpretations may in fact have been ingrained into society through the process of social construction at a young age. Mothers also may contribute to a social construction of gender by treating their sons as different from themselves, while treating their daughters as similar, or continuations, of themselves (N. Chodorow, 1978). Gender expectations create pressures on women especially, on self-esteem and seeking job positions and caregivers to family members.

The social construction of gender norms has put a huge burden on women as caregivers because they are the mast majorities that are caring for ill family members. The label “family caregivers” obscures the fact that women constitute the majority of caregivers. Two-thirds (66%) of unpaid family caregivers are women. This represents approximately 14% of all Canadian women over the age of 15. Of those caring for people with dementia, 72% are women (Lessard, B. 2001, P10). These women are given a hefty responsibility when they have not been educated on how to which leaves them in uncharted territory.

Highlighting the issues that need to be addressed here are some ideas of improving these caregivers situation. What we need is political and government will to support the public health care system Canadians value so highly based on non-profit delivery and dedicated to ensuring decent employment for all members of the health care team (Armstrong et al. 2009b P.13). This will give women a chance to feel empowered instead of feeling over work or in some cases have stable employment.

Service delivery should take gender into account, as well as age, socio- economic status, cultural expectations, and the relationship between the care receiver and caregiver (Lessard, B. 2001, P.14). Which would make the lives of these women so much better because there will be an equal opportunity to receive educational and funding help if needed.

There are some underlying issues that need to be met for the better conditions in the health care in the sectors of the paid and unpaid workers. Highlighting that needs to be government intervention for the paid work force to ensure the women are receiving the help they need to create a better work environment. The unpaid sector needs more attention on the fact that women are dominating the caregiver realm so they receive the right compensation and education.

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Women's Healthcare Conflicts: Patient Autonomy. (2023, Mar 17). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/the-conflicts-in-women-s-healthcare-caused-by-patient-autonomy-ideals-and-implementation/

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