Discussion: Individual Right Versus the Collective Good
Most of the recent successes in improving the public’4 s health have had to
address the tension of individual rights versus the collective good. Anti-
smoking campaigns and laws banning smoking in public places protect people
from the negative health effects of second-hand smoke, yet some believe that
they infringe on the individual rights of those who choose to smoke. Requiring
childhood immunizations has helped prevent diseases such as polio and
measles, but some parents assert that they have the right to decide if being
immunized is in the best interest of their children.
Individual Right Versus the Collective Good
This tension also exists in the allocation of scarce resources, from providing
adequate staff coverage to making decisions about the amount of health care to
provide. Given the nurse’s involvement in policy and health care delivery, it is
important to understand the dynamics of this tension, as well as the legal and
When have you encountered a tension between the individual right and the
collective good in your nursing practice?
With information from the Learning Resources in mind, consider relatively
recent examples of health care policy that demonstrate this tension. For this
Discussion, select one example of timely health care policy that allows you to
evaluate the tension between individual rights and the collective good.
Conduct additional research as necessary using credible websites and the
By Day 3
Post a cohesive response that addresses the following:
In the first line of your posting, identify a health care policy.
Explain the tension between individual rights and the collective good.
Analyze the ethical and legal considerations of the policy.