Issues for Health Care Professionals

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Issues for Health Care Professionals

By | Jan. 2012
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Before becoming a nurse over ten years ago, it never occurred to me all the legal and ethical issues that nurses also face. All I knew is that I wanted to be a nurse. The nurse is the medical professional that has more direct contact with the patient, therefore playing a big responsible part in maintaining that patient’s stability. Here I will discuss some of the ethical and legal issues that nurses are faced with on a daily basis.

I was a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) for ten years. I basically practiced under the close authority and supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN). As an LPN, my job duties were not as broad in a hospital setting. Of course an LPN works as part of the interdisciplinary team that is responsible for the continuity of care for patients, but when it comes to the direct contact patient care, the LPN’s scope of practice is limited. I learned a lot working as an LPN but I chose to learn more, returned to school and obtained my associates nursing degree and became a registered nurse. Not only did my job duties dramatically increase once I became a registered nurse, but the ethical and legal responsibility also increased.

A registered nurse is a license nurse who has successfully passed a state exam to practice nursing. Their roles include assessing patients, analyzing lab reports, patient teaching and counseling, administering medication as well as starting medical regimens, and also properly operating any necessary medical equipment prescribed by a physician (Pozgar,G. 2010).

There is a code of ethics developed for nurses by the American Nurses Association which was developed as a guide for nurses to carry out their responsibilities in a consistent manner with quality in nursing care as well as the ethical obligations of the medical profession itself (http://www.nursingworld.org). There is also a Code of Ethics developed by the International Council of Nurses, which describes in detail the ethical relationship and behaviors expected of...