Foundations for Ethical Practice

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thFoundations for Professional Practice
The aim of this essay is to explore the legal, professional and ethical issues in relation to Sam [see appendix 1]. Sam is a nineteen year old male, who has incurred a head injury which has rendered him unconscious. He is therefore incapable of giving informed consent. The legal issues explored in relation to Sam are: the National Health Commission, the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Human Rights Act 1998, Legal Duty of Care, Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults, implied consent and Accountability. Areas explored in relation to the Nursing and Midwifery Council: The code; Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives (2008), includes: The relationship between the NMC and ethics, links between the NMC Code (2008) and the law and consideration of the methods in which the NMC Code (2008) guide practice in relation to the care Sam receives. Final content of this essay aims to define and discuss different ethical models, apply ethical reasoning to the decisions made in relation to Sam’s care and to explore the impact of individual moral values. In order to comprehend the legal practices which underpin the care Sam receives, it is necessary to understand the nature of law, methods of delivery and the relevance of legal systems in relation to nursing practice (Reeves and Orford, 2002). Llewellyn ([1893-1962], cited in Hendrick, 2000, p.3) maintained that the purpose of law is to prevent communal extinction, whilst promoting compliance to, and enforcement of socially acceptable values. Llewellyn’s belief is apparently reinforced by Farrar and Dugdale (1990, cited in Hendrick, 2000, p.3) who identified: Preservation of communal harmony by way of prohibiting and punishing socially unacceptable behaviour; enabling mutual engagement through realisation of essential securities and establishment and regulation of the foremost arbitrators of authority; as the three universal requirements of law. Socially advocated laws enforced throughout England and Wales take the form of European Directives, Parliamentary Legislation [Statute] and Common Law (Hendrick, 2000, p.p. 11-13). Consideration will be given to each of these areas. Although European directives take precedence over statute and common law (Hendrick, 2000, p.15), Dimmond (2008, p.11) maintains that the English judicial system falls into the categories of common [case] law, which is heard in civil cases and Parliamentary legislation which consists of Acts of Parliament and Delegated legislation and pertains to criminal charges. Acts of Parliament are the product of time consuming deliberation of proposed bills passing through the House of Commons and the House of Lords, eventually gaining Royal Assent and passing into law (Dimmond, 2008, p.11; Hendrick, 2000, p.p.11-13). Statutory Instruments or Delegated Legislation are composed by various government bodies. Although Statutory Instruments are enacted under the powers of Acts of Parliament, they are not subject to the same rigorous controls and time constraints (Hendrick, 2000, p.p.11-13). EU laws [including EU Directives related to health and safety legislation and equal pay provisions of employment law (Hendrick, 2000, p.15)] are incorporated at this level, taking priority over all other legislation (Dimmond, 2008, p.11). The common law or case law is compiled from individual litigation judgments, usually pertaining to interpretation of statute; for example [Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee [1957] 1 WLR 582]. It should be noted that the judge presiding over the case will be bound by previous decisions made on the law and by decisions made in a higher court ruling (Dimmond, 2008, p.11). It should be noted that, unlike other legislation originating in the European Union, the Human Rights Act 1998 has been awarded Royal Assent, becoming an Act of Parliament (Hendrick, 2000, p.15). As care provision in all National Health Service trusts is...
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