Legal and Ethical Issues in Nursing – Medical Ethics Example

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"Legal and Ethical Issues in Nursing" is a perfect example of a paper on medical ethics. If a caregiver disagrees with a physician's written orders and is sure that he or she is right, should that caregiver violate the order? The medical care environment is a sensitive place for decision-makers due to the fact that mistakes can affect the lives of the patients. The ethical issues related to the lack of unity indecisions can be one of the main points that can negatively affect the condition of the patients.   If a caregiver disagrees with a physician’ s written orders and is sure that he or she is right, he or she should still not violate the order. There are different reasons related to the view that the caregiver should not violate a physician’ s written even if he or she is sure that it is wrong.

Although this is true, it is important to state it clearly that the said caregiver should consult people higher up in the chain of command ladder. This can be attributed to the fact that every role in a medical institution has its own responsibilities, skills set and license.

For that matter, it is of utmost importance not only for the ethical aspect of the job to respect the roles and responsibility of each personnel. The physician is the main decision-maker of the group, and the caregiver and nurses are there to be able to support through technical aspects of the patients care. Errors can be committed by the physicians in terms of specific and clearly reviewing the nurses and the caregivers’ notes about the patients since they are the closest ones involved in their care.   On the other hand, although the caregivers are closely monitoring the patients, they have the duty to follow orders and to perform their specific roles (Pozgar, 2012).

In case of errors, it is not in the caregivers’ job responsibility to make the decision in revising patient’ s medication but to consult other personnel in the medical institution specifically other physicians, immediate superiors and pharmacists in terms of medications.   Aside from considering and respecting the duties of every person in a medical institution, it is also important for the caregiver to consider that this does not mean that he or she should just ignore the error.

Based on studies, it had been determined that ignoring the knowledge and opinions of the caregivers and nursing staff can lead to an increase in mortality or the deterioration of the patients in medical institutions.   This can be attributed to the fact that part of the job of caregivers is prioritizing the patients.   A study showed that a higher proportion of patients compared to nursing staff could lead to adverse effects on the condition of patients (Stanton, 2004).   In addition to this, the caregiver also has ethical duties as a person and as a medical professional to save the life of his or her patient.

In cases when the caregiver knows that a mistake had been committed by the physician, it is important to question it with the sole objective of keeping the patient from harm. In line with this objective though, it is important to consult if his or her view of what is needed to be done is right by pointing it out to the physician or asking the help of another within the same department or institution (Pozgar, 2012). In conclusion, the caregiver should not make his or her own decision regarding the patient’ s care but ask the physician about the written order.

When the physician said that it should be implemented, the caregiver then needs to ask the opinion of his or her immediate superior as well as other physicians. This will prevent conflicts and even ethical case against the caregiver for making a decision on his or her own when the said role is outside his or her duties.

References

Pozgar, G.D. (2012). Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Stanton, M.W. (2004). Hospital Nurse Staffing and Quality of Care: Research in Action. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/services/nursestaffing/nursestaff.html

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