January 14, 2010
Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing
The American Nurse’s Association’s code of ethics provides guidelines to help nurses make ethical decisions with the patient’s needs as the main focus of concern. In the case where Marianne, a 79-year-old woman who is admitted for a hemorrhagic stroke and her family is in conflict over the decision to have surgery or not to have surgery, the code of ethics expresses the need for the nurse to be truthful, respect the rights and values of the patient, and the nurse must be an advocate for the patient. The nurse needs to be able to provide educated responses to the family, spouse and to other staff members. Respecting human dignity is the most important factor in advocating for the patient. The nurse will need to communicate with ethics committees, co-workers, doctors and should be able to consulted. The ethics committee should be consulted by the nurse to assist the patient’s family make the final decision. The nurse needs to respect the dignity, values and family decisions with the main priority focused on the patient. The spouse has the moral and legal right to determine what should be done with his wife’s body. In the case where a nurse who injured a patient was being brought to court due to negligence and the nurse that knew about the negligence and made reports to the administration, is obligated to tell the truth when asked questions in the court proceedings. The nurse does not have to volunteer information but must answer the questions truthfully with the emphasis on the patient as the primary focus. Each state develops its own Nurse Practice Act. Guidelines are set by the American Nurse Association and developed by a board of nurses within each state. The nurse practice act sets forth requirements for licensure and identifies grounds for disciplinary action. It provides a set of actions, which are permitted and which are prohibited under...