Whenever we deal with an ethical issue it is good to have a format to approach these issues. A few years ago I worked with American Medical Writer Association (AMWA) colleagues to develop a framework for dealing with ethical issues, and I want to share it with you. We gave the model the acronymRIGHT, which stands for:
1. Recognize an ethical situation exists. Define the situation and who is involved.
2. Investigate the situation thoroughly and from all sides. Talk to colleagues and strive to completely understand the situation at hand.
3. Gauge the situation and consider all possible causes of action.
4. Handle the situation responsibly.
5. Tailor the decision and evaluate it. Consider what can be learned for next time.
By following this model you will have a framework for handling any ethical situations that might arise. This will enable you to take the right steps to ensure you follow ethical standards for yourself and your colleagues.
For more information and the complete reference see Hamilton CW. The Right Way to Avoid Doing Wrong: A Multistep Model for Making Ethical Decisions. AMWA J 2012;27:3-6.
Follow the RIGHT model and make the RIGHT [ethical] decision!