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Case Study on Ethics
Jennifer Flathers
Western Governors University

Registered nurses have a moral and legal responsibility to uphold a patient’s rights in relation to their personal health care. An important nursing standard of practice speaks to the registered nurse acting as a patient advocate. WAC 246-840-700 section 3c states “The registered nurse…acts as client advocates in health maintenance and clinical care.” (Washington State Legislature, Practice Standards, 2004) The role of the registered nurse in this particular case study in relation to the above WAC is quite applicable because there is cause for concern related to Mr. E’s patient rights being violated. Mr. E, though mildly developmentally delayed, has a right to self determination. He has the right to choose whether he wants to be placed on a ventilator or not. A mild hypoxia of 88% is common with pneumonia and is seen quite often, this in and of itself is not usually enough to affect one’s decision making ability. The registered nurse caring for Mr. E needs to be a patient advocate and fight to see his wishes followed.

Even though there is an available medical power of attorney, this is to be utilized in the event that Mr. E is unable to make his own decisions related to health care. Mr. E has both previously and currently made his wishes known in regards to being placed on a ventilator. The registered nurse has an obligation to help see these wishes adhered to. This may mean following the applicable chain of command and notifying the charge nurse or nursing supervisor or involving the hospital ethics committee. Mr. E has a right to see his clearly expressed desires followed. Within this case study there are several violations of the nursing code of ethics, one violation being the registered nurse witnessing unethical practice by the doctor and making no attempt to prevent it. “Provision 3. The nurse’s promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the heath, safety, and rights of the...
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