Ethics and Law for Nurses 2011 – Case Studies Analysis

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Introduction Nurses have a tremendous amount of responsibilities incorporated in their duty of care and they are challenged with legal and ethical issues on a daily basis. Examples of legal and ethical issues in nursing may refer to topics such as medication administration, consent and abortion just to name a few. To protect the patient, oneself and the health professional team, it is, as for any health professional, crucial to gain sound knowledge and understanding of the legal and ethical aspects in health care. It is therefore important to follow up incidents that may arise carefully and properly. Law and ethics are to different factors but they are tied together in any given situation (Australian Nursing & Midwifery Council,…show more content…
Keeping the patient’s confidentiality is a nurse’s legal and ethical duty is deeply incorporated in the duty of care and maintaining patient confidentiality and privacy is of great importance in nursing to ensure that the patient’s rights are being considered (Sastow & Inman, 2008). In Melanie’s case she can be sued in civil court by the patient for breaching the confidentiality and any damage that may affect Melanie’s patient can be awarded. The use of proper guidelines and policies regarding the storage and access of patient’s history and records, along with education regarding law and ethics in hospitals are crucial to prevent a Scenario like Melanie’s (Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2005; Staunton & Chiarella, 2008). Conclusion Confidentiality and not disclosing the information and integrity of individuals in the health care setting is crucial for any given situation. No information should be divulged without the individuals consent. Confidentiality is in place to ensure patient safety and comfort. With this in mind, the patient will be able to share crucial data and information regarding their care without fearing of having their sensitive data/information disclosed by unauthorized individuals or groups. Melanie should have been informed about confidentiality and the importance of keeping patient privacy and dignity. Her clinical teacher could have prevented this from happening by sitting down with her
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