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Ethical Legal and Other Issues in Nursing, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1367

Essay

Whistle-blowing is a huge ethical issue nurses are facing today. Nurses are being asked to be loyal employees to our department and organization we work for. No One likes a “tale-tell”, but part of the Code of Ethics for nurses states that we will promote and advocate for our patients safety and our patient’ rights (Huston, page 257). It takes tremendous courage to report wrongdoing in the work place. You must avoid the groupthink mentality and take a huge risk to report fraudulent activity. I think most people are afraid to report wrongdoing for fear of losing their job or their professional reputation. It is much easier to go with the crowd than to stand up and report unprofessional behavior or fraudulent activity. Many nurses may feel that the organization will not support or believe them.

Personal bias and beliefs can affect difficult health care decisions and impact a nurse’s care. Nurses along with patients come from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures. We must put aside our own personal and religious beliefs and care for the patient. We must be respectful of their decisions and not let them affect our care towards that patient or family. I have had several Jehovah’s Witness patients who have refused blood transfusion, and I had to respect their decision and treat them with respect and courtesy.

Nurses must be knowledgeable about the Nurse Practice Act in their state of employment. This defines our scope of practice and education requirements needed to practice as a nurse. Ethics is foundational in nursing practice and nurses are considered the most trusted in the healthcare business (Laureate Video).  When we are faced with ethical issues we must monitor our own internal environment and take a step back to ensure we are doing what is ethical and legal in our scope of practice. Every Joint Commission Accredited hospital must have an Ethics Committee, so we should be utilizing our resources and asking for help when ethic issues arise (Laureate Video).

I agree to the fact that the primary role of a medical attendant is to protect the life of a patient. There are instances however when the need to protect a person’s life might involve practices that are not fully considered ethical (Brody, 1988, p. 122). In situations like this, I do feel that the oath of a medical attendant [a nurse at that] becomes challenged. In this case, I do feel strongly about the need to be balanced, as noted in the post above. I believe that the personal opinions and beliefs of one should not intervene with the primary role of nurses, to provide ample care to the patients to the best of benefit that they could get from each operation.

Along with the need to consider the oath of saving lives is also the oath on protecting patient-conscience issues- especially when it comes to dealing with their religious beliefs. I have had a personal experience on this when my friend was sent to the emergency room. She was unconscious and was in dire need of blood transfusion. However, she was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I thought, she’s unconscious, I might as well decide for her; although I was aware of her non-to-blood transfusion belief. I had to reason out with myself when her parents came in and told me that they were not to take the option of blood transfusion. I was battling with myself, the best thing to do at the time was to get the attention of a medical representative who knew about the alternatives that they would accept. My friend survived this incident. When she woke up, she thanked me for not pushing what I believed in simply to save her life. I never thought it would be that huge of an issue for her. As a result, I learned so much from this incident; that whatever I think is best for the patient may be worthless if I go beyond the patient’s desires on how he or she should be treated accordingly. Apart from saving a life, respecting one’s being is also a crucial part of my responsibility as a nurse.

There are many issues that can come up in the field of nursing . There are ethical situations which deal with according to your morality and the Hippocratic oath that you took, do you feel a situation was handle properly. Another form of issues is legal, where laws have been put into place that mandate what is the right thing to do inside of our scope of practice.

Ethical Issue

An example of an ethical issue is when you know that something has been done wrong and could possibly put your patient in danger or harm. Would you tell the proper authorities or would you hold your peace and not say anything. People who let their conscience be their guide and tell  are called “Whistle Blowers” (Huston, 2012, pg.270). I was confronted with a situation on my job, where the night nurse never spiked a bag of Vancomycin. This was not done once but several times. However the last time it happen the head of nursing came into the room and wondered why this time sensitive medication was hanging on the pole but not spiked. I proceeded to tell her it was there when my shift started . My coworkers found out about his and stated that was something that I should not have said and should have took the blame for it. This made for poor morale. I did not care because this had happened more than once and it was not safe for the patients. We are advocates for the patients and they come first.

Legal Issues

It is right of the patient to have whatever services we are provided for them to be confidential. Anything that they share with us unless it puts them or others in danger we should keep confident. There are governing policies such as Nurse Practice Act, American Nursing Association, and HIPPA which delegate what we do and what can be said in front of who. It is our job as Nurses to advocate for our patient. The doctor may get a consent signed by the patient and it is our job as nurses to follow through to make sure our patient understand what they are going to experience as well as teach them side effects and what they can do to maintain their health.

It is always essential to tell the patient what is happening, to give them an idea on what they are going through and what the treatments to be given to them are and how these procedures would affect them (Brody, 1988, p. 121). I had the chance to deal with a child facing a terminal case. She needed to be treated immediately, however, since the diagnosis of her case is not clear, the treatment could both be beneficial and dangerous to her life. I had the choice to lie and simply tell the parents that they had to take the treatment as they have no other choice. However, in the end, I realized that it did not matter what I think, it mattered what they think and how they would be able to decide on such a crucial part of dealing with their child’s case. This situation taught me to not go over myself and be more concerned about the patient, their concerns and their right to know the truth to be able to make an informed decision.

Considerably, in relation to the oath taken by medical assistants to make sure that the patients are knowledgeable of what they are going through, she should be told of what choices she has. However, avoiding the manner by which the patient chooses the wrong option, would it be ethical for the attendant to tell the patient that there is only one choice and although it is lethal it should be taken into account? To this case, there are many risks. However, in the hope of saving the patient’s life, there are those who would go beyond the rules just to make sure that the patient ends up alive after being admitted in the hospital.

References

Brody, Baruch A. 1988. Life and Death Decision Making. New York: Oxford University Press.

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