Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing Paper
Nursing is a profession that has a specific set of guidelines to govern their practice. Nurses follow a code of ethics put forth by the American Nurses Association as well as the Nurse Practice Act for the state in which they work. Nurses should be aware of these guidelines and incorporate them into their daily work routine. Nurses are exposed to different cultures and belief systems, which may be considerably different than their own.
This may make it hard to put their own feelings aside, but they are expected to do so in a non-judgmental way. The nurse must remember that the patient always comes first regardless of what his or her own personal values are. How the ANA Code of Nursing Ethics Influence Final Decisions The American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses lays the foundation for nurses to practice in a professional and compassionate manner toward their patients. It has established guidelines that aid the nurse with daily decisions regarding the integrity and safety of the patient.
The nurse in Marianne’s case should collaborate with the Ethics Committee to help the family come to a decision regarding Marianne’s care. The family must come to an agreement on what they believe Marianne would want and according to the ANA’s Code of Nursing Ethics the nurse has the responsibility to advocate for and protect the patient’s and the family’s rights in a nonjudgmental manner (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p. 59). In the malpractice case against the negligent nurse; according to the ANA’s Code of Nursing Ethics a “nurses primary commitment is to the patient” (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p. 59). To promote safety for the patient the nurse was obligated to report the incidents of negligence that were observed.
The nurse has a responsibility to be truthful if summoned to trial as a witness and advocate for the patient in question. The negligent nurse in question will need to take responsibility for her own actions. How Personal and Societal Values Can Influence Ethical Decision Making The professional nurse has an ethical duty to adhere to the law when performing patient care in a manner that is respectful of each patient’s unique health concerns. This is, of course, easier said than done; the nurse must know his or her own ethical beliefs and be able to distinguish issues that can create ethical conflicts in the care that he or she provides. In the case of Marianne and her end-of-life care the prudent nurse will not allow his or her own personal ethics to influence the family’s decision.
The nurse is to guide Marianne and her family through the decision process in a manner that adheres to the law, but respects the beliefs of the family and the patient. Perhaps the nurse has concerns about end-of-life issues and the decision to terminate care or pursue more aggressive pathways to care. The prudent nurse will know how these ethical issues affect him or her personally and will strive to maintain the integrity of the profession and not allow personal beliefs to influence the care provided to the patient. When called to court the nurse has an ethical duty to protect the profession of nursing.
Acting with honesty and integrity maintains the valued faith the patient community has in the nursing profession. The nurse may have personal beliefs regarding the use of narcotics; he or she may have a personal relationship with the nurse in question. Regardless, the nurse has to be honest and testify to with accuracy to safeguard the patients, the nurse-in-question and the nursing profession, (Blias & Hayes, 2011).
The Fundamental Legal Aspects of each Case Study
As professional nurses, we have legal responsibilities in the practice of our profession. Our main legal responsibilities are to advocate and to practice care to our patients to the best of our abilities within the scoop of our practices. In the malpractice exercise, a nurse witnessed another nurse violating standard of care on several situations. As soon as the patient negligence is witness, there are many legal responsibilities that the witness nurse is facing. It is the nurse’s responsibility to report the incidents immediately utilizing the chain of command. It is important that the nurse writes down important points, times, dates, who she/he reported it to and if there are any witnesses.
The witness nurse has the responsibilities to be honest and truthful. The nurse has to remember that he or she has legal and ethical duties to advocate, and to protect the patients. Every nurse is equally responsible of his or her actions. This includes patients who are not under his or her care. In the case of Marianne and her family, the significant legal aspect to consider is that she did not leave a Health care Power of Attorney. Accurate documentation is a huge responsibility of the nurse in this situation. Legally the nurse needs to be aware of the policies and procedure of the hospital she works for. She also needs to identify the family members and what the roles they play in the decision making for Marianne. Since she does not have advance directive, the spouse is the next person with legal authority to make the heath care decision for Marianne. The Legal Responsibilities of Nurses in the Work Setting.
The legal responsibilities of the professional nurse require adhering to the nurse practice act, code of ethics and laws and regulations provided by both the state board of nursing and the institution in which the nurse is employed. In the Case study for Marianne the family must make a decision whether or not to implement a DNR. The nurse involved in the patient’s care has a responsibility to facilitate the family in making a decision between establishing a DNR or keeping her on life support. “The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient” according to (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p. 59). Marianne cannot to make the decision therefore it is her family that has to decide. The ANA recommends that the health care organization provide a means to assist families in resolving conflict therefore, it is the nurse’s responsibility to consult the ethics committee for this case.
The Critical Thinking exercise presents a malpractice case in which a nurse observes the negligence of a coworker resulting in harm to a patient; this is considered a violation of the standards of care. According to (Chitty & Black, 2011, p. 84) “malpractice or negligence takes place when the defendant has specialized knowledge and through the practice of that specialized knowledge the defendant causes in injury to the patient” It is the responsibility of both nurses to know the standard of care. The nurse who witnessed the negligence notified the administration and took notes.
It is this nurse’s responsibility to the employer to affirm the observations witnessed and each occasion the administration was notified, as it is possible the facility could be sued because of the negligent conduct. According to the National Council of State Boards of nursing “It is the nurse’s responsibility to protect patients from unprofessional and unsafe nursing practice (“Policy And Legislative Affairs”, 2013) therefore it is the nurse’s responsibility to the client in question, the institution, and to the nurse being sued to be honest and reveal the information collected that is pertinent to the case. Conclusion
By incorporating the guidelines set for the nursing profession and advocating for patient rights the nurse maintained the integrity of the nursing profession. “The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving healthcare environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values of the profession through individual and collective action” (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p. 59).