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Reply prompt: Respond to threads posted by 2 classmates who analyzed a different area of practice than you did. Compare and contrast the legal and ethical issues of your area of practice with those explored by other students. 2 replies of at least 450 words each to 2 classmates’ threads.  Each reply must be supported by 4 scholarly sources, including the textbook chapter and the Bible, cited in current APA format (note that this is a different requirement than the previous Discussion Board Forums).

 

My Post: Chapter 11: Nursing and the law

Introduction

As analyzed in the book in chapter 11, the profession of nursing always intersects with legal risks which might include negligence or malpractices. In addition, nurses are always faced with the dilemma of selecting the ethical and moral choice every single day within their places of work. Thus, in the nursing field, the law applies to every major activity carried within a health facility. Nurses therefore face legal risks in their day to day duties and they are also required by law to question any discharge of a patient from the hospital especially if the patient is not completely healed. In addition, they are also required by law to report negligence observed in a physician as required by law.

Therefore, the legal issues and ethical issues facing my profession require me to observe the law at any given time and act in a way which is unquestionable and promotes the highest ideals of our nursing profession. In the following discussion, I will look into legal issues impacting the nursing profession while at the same time exploring how my ethical viewpoint coincides with biblical values.

Legal issues in nursing

In the nursing profession, may legal issues exist for a nurse as noted by the studies made by Cox, (2010). The legal issues include negligence which occurs when a nurse fails to provide the expected level of care to a patient. In addition, other legal risks that nurses face include malpractice which entails a nurse doing something wrong contrary to the training received. E.g., as a nurse, I might give the wrong medication to a patient as a result of fatigue or other factors leading to very negative medical effects on the part of the patient. This might result to the institution I work with getting sued by the patient. Further, as analyzed by Cox, (2010) legal risks which also face nurses in their day to day work include accidents and documentation errors especially when nurses are filling health records which might result to misdiagnosis in the future.

Further as noted by (Pozgar & Santucci, 2015), nurses should have the proper licensing and certification allowing them to practice their profession in a particular state or they face the risk of being sued for fraud and malpractice.

On the other hand, nurses also face the legal risk of getting sued if they do not question how a contentious discharge was carried out. This is as analyzed by (Ulrich et al., 2010) who show that nurses have an obligation to ensure that patients receive the best care which an hospital can grant and that they are not discharged midway through a treatment process due to their inability to pay for their hospital bills. Nurses, therefore have a moral obligation to stand for what is right within their profession and adhere to the Hippocratic Oath by ensuring that doctors disseminate quality care to all the patients admitted within a hospital.

Finally, as noted by (Pozgar & Santucci, 2015) nurses also have a right to report any negligence on the part of a physician. This is because, failure to do so may result to the nurse getting embroiled in a legal conflict if the actions of the physician leads to negative outcomes on the part of the patient. Therefore, nurses face the legal risk of suspension or getting their certificates revoked if they do not report any form of negligence noted on their fellow physician to their superiors.

Personal worldview on nursing ethics

I tend to agree with the concepts raised by (Ozaras & Abaan, 2016) on the role nurses should play within the society. This is because the author argues that nurses should seek to maintain the highest levels of professionalism in their day to day activities and should seek to follow the law despite the pressure which might come from their work entrapment. Therefore, I believe that nurses should seek to uphold the highest code of ethics and should not in any way accept bribes or subvert the legal guidelines within a hospital setting in order to favor one patient against another. E.g., a nurse should seek to give patients the right amount of morphine despite the insistence of a patient or the pain they might be undergoing

In addition, I also agree with the concepts proposed by (Beech, 2007) that nurses should seek to provide high quality care to any patients who are under their care even if they do not have the means to pay for the care given. Thus, nurses should never deny an individual access to medical help in line with the Hippocratic Oath but should always seek to resolve any insurance constraints or conflicts which can occur in the modes of payment used by a patient while at the same time upholding the professional standards required. Nurses should therefore seek to ensure that a physician adheres to the right code of conduct and act with the right amount of concern towards their patients.

Biblical concepts which intersect with legal nursing laws

The concepts of ethics and doing the right thing are also spoken in the bible. This is as shown in proverbs 11:3 “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them”. This seeks to show that every person in a position of authority should seek to do the right thing. Thus, a nurse should always seek to uphold the legal and ethical mores and standards stipulated in their job. In addition, they should seek to uphold the correct professional standards in their day to day operations. Therefore nurses should seek to uphold the concepts analyzed in Philippians 4:8 which states “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things”.

Conclusion

Therefore, nurses face a lot of legal risks in the workplace as noted by (Pozgar & Santucci, 2015). This is because nurses face the risk of being sued for negligence or malpractice especially if their actions lead to an accident in the dissemination of healthcare. Further, nurses are also supposed to report any misdemeanor carried out by a physician in the workplace. Thereby, a nurse should always uphold the highest ethical ideals in their day to day practices in line with biblical concepts which call on all of nurses to be upright and blameless in their actions.

References

Beech, M. (2007). Confidentiality in health care: conflicting legal and ethical issues. Nursing Standard, 21(21), 42-46.http://dx.doi.org/10.7748/ns2007.01.21.21.42.c4513

Cox, C. (2010). Legal responsibility and accountability. Nursing Management, 17(3), 18-20. http://dx.doi.org/10.7748/nm2010.06.17.3.18.c7797

Ozaras, G., & Abaan, S. (2016). Investigation of the trust status of the nurse-patient relationship. Nursing Ethics.http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0969733016664971

Pozgar, G., & Santucci, N. (2015). Legal aspects of health care administration (12th ed., pp. 259-287). NewYork: Jones & Bartlett learning.

Ulrich, C., Taylor, C., Soeken, K., O’Donnell, P., Farrar, A., Danis, M., & Grady, C. (2010). Everyday ethics: ethical issues and stress in nursing practice. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 66(11), 2510-2519. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2010.05425.x