Legal and Ethical Issues Faced by Nurses

792 Words3 Pages
Page 1: What primary relationships do you see between legal and ethical issues faced by nurses in their practice? How would you explain these relationships to others? As well as medical caregivers, nurses must confront some of the most serious human dilemmas all individuals muse over, such as death and dying. Nurses often deal with extreme ethical conundrums on a daily basis. These concerns include end-of-life issues, caring for an elderly or disabled relative, the proper way to raise a child, and the degree to which a person with a mental or physical impairment has autonomy over his or her body. Provision 1 of the American Nursing Association's ethical code mandates every patient's right to self-determination. However, this right is not absolute and unambiguous. For example, a depressed patient who is suicidal does not possess the legal or ethical right to end his or her life. A patient who is a danger to himself or to others when unmedicated can be compelled under the law to be committed involuntarily. Nurses must comply with the law, even when they may personally believe that aspects of the law are ill-advised, such as laws that prohibit medically-assisted euthanasia for the terminally ill. At other times, the law may be clear, but nursing ethics may suggest at least some intervention. A teenage girl may be able to legally obtain birth control, but a nurse might feel ethically obligated to urge the girl to discuss the matter with her parents, if the girl is more
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