Nursing Ethical Scenarios

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Ethical-Legal Considerations

Identify the ethical/legal violation(s) involved in each of the following scenarios. Provide a rationale for your answer.

Scenario 1

A nursing home resident continues to wander into the rooms of other residents. The nursing assistant yells “I’m gonna hit you if you go into one more room today!”

Both ethical and legal violation.

Scenario 2

A female patient refuses to eat the food that has been served on her breakfast tray. The nursing assistant persists in trying to put food in the patient’s mouth even though the patient is clenching her teeth together.

Ethical, patient has right to refuse.

Scenario 3

A special program for all residents of the nursing home is scheduled in the dining room. The nursing assistant has a disagreement with one of the male residents and tells him to stay in his room until lunchtime.


Scenario 4

The nurse notes that a resident has lost 10 pounds since the last monthly weight check. She asks the resident about her appetite. The resident states that no one will help her with her dentures.

Both (negligence)

Scenario 5

The nursing assistant posts a picture of her favorite patient on Facebook.

Legal, HIPAA violation

Scenario 6

The nursing assistant forgets to dispose of notes regarding his patients before he leaves work. The notes fall out of his uniform pocket onto the Circle K parking lot. The nursing assistant drives away without recognizing that he is missing his notes.

Legal, HIPAA violation

Scenario 7

A nursing assistant roughly hurries a resident to the bathroom resulting in the resident hitting his head on the doorframe.


Scenario 8

While giving care to a resident, a nursing assistant tells him he smells bad.


Scenario 9

A nursing assistant accepts five dollars from a male patient for cleaning his dentures.


Scenario 10

The nursing assistant forgets to...
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