Ethical and Legal Problems Faced by Nurse Practioner

Topics: Nursing, Medical malpractice, Ethics Pages: 4 (1453 words) Published: July 8, 2013
Ethical and Legal Problems Faced by Nurse Practitioners
HCA322: Health Care Ethics & Medical Law (BGE1226A)
Instructor: Eugene Elliott
Cara Gerlach

Ethical and Legal Problems Faced by Nurse Practitioners
Every medical professional has or will face some ethical and legal issues in the Medical Field, the Nurse Practitioners (NP) are no different. Fant stated that in an ethical dilemma there are no right answers or solutions; however, in these dilemmas there are no wrong answers either. Sule feels that the ethical issues for NPs are in consent and capacity, confidentiality and autonomy, and in the non-compliance on part of patient. Offredy and Townsend both feel that a breech in clinical governance and management can cause quite a few legal issues. As physicians are susceptible to malpractice lawsuits, NPs can be charged for the same as well.

Pozgar defined Nurse Practitioners as, “…a registered nurse who has completed the necessary education to engage in primary health care decision making. The NP is trained in the delivery of primary health care and the assessment of psychosocial and physical health problems, such as performing routine examinations and ordering routine diagnostic tests. The NP provides primary health care services in accordance with state nurse practice laws.” Croke found that between 1998 and 2001 there was an increase of, “… the number of malpractice payments made by nurses increased from 253 to 413 (see Figure 1, page 55). The trend shows no signs of stopping, 1-3 despite efforts by nursing educators to inform nurses and student nurses of their legal and professional responsibilities and limitations. A charge of negligence against a nurse can arise from almost any action or failure to act that results in patient injury—most often, an unintentional failure to adhere to a standard of clinical practice—and may lead to a malpractice lawsuit.” Croke also stated that one of the issues was, “Early discharge. Patients are...

References: Pozgar, George D., Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals, 3rd Edition, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 02/10/2012. p. 327
Nurses, Negligence, and Malpractice, Croke, Eileen M. EdD, ANP, LNC-C,
Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing, Fant, Cathy,
Ethical Issues in Nursing, Sule, Ashwini Kulkarni,
Nurse practitioners in primary care, Maxine Offredy and Joy Townsend,
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