Ethics Case Study

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Ethics Case Study
Catherine Bumgarner
July 24, 2011
James Dockins


Jerry McCall is a Licensed Practical Nurse in Dr William’s office. In addition to being an LPN, he is also trained as a medical assistant. Jerry is handling the phone calls for the receptionist while she is at lunch. One of Dr. William’s patients calls and asks for a refill on his prescription of valium. No one is in the office but Jerry. This paper will determine if Jerry’s medical training qualifies him to refill this drug order, it will identify major legal and ethical issues that may affect Jerry’s decision. It will identify problem solving methods that could be helpful in making ethical decisions.

Jerry McCall LPN Ethics Case Study
Jerry’s medical training as a licensed practical nurse and medical assistant does not qualify him to refill the valium order. Each state has its own board of nursing and each board of nursing has defined a scope of practice for health care professionals. In most states the LPN is cannot practice independently and must be supervised by a registered nurse or a physician (Texas department of aging and disability services, 2010). If Jerry issues the refill order he would be practicing independently and that is out of an LPN’s scope of practice. It does not matter what type of medication is being prescribed, prescribing medications is considered practicing medicine and that can only be done by a physician. Jerry would not be protected under the respondeat superior doctrine: Under the principle of respondeat superior, an employer is liable for the acts of the employee within the scope of employment. What this means for physicians is that they are liable for negligent actions of the employees working for them. When a physician delegates certain duties to staff employees the ultimate liability for the correct performance of these duties rests with the physician ( Fremgen, 2009, p. 58-59). Jerry did not have the physician’s authorization to...
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