Peer Assistance Programs for Nurses

1482 Words6 Pages
Substance abuse among health care professionals is an issue that is continually gaining more attention due to the harmful affects it can have individuals as well as the patients. Substance abuse can greatly hinder the ability to provide quality care and if left unchecked could lead to serious implications within the health care facility. There are a significant amount of nurses and health care providers that deal with substance abuse problems. At one point, it was estimated, that 2-3%, of all nurses were addicted to drugs (Trinkoff, & Storr, 1998). To encourage nurses to seek help, the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses was created. This program gives employers, LVNs and RNs the ability to seek help, education, guidance, and…show more content…
After researching peer assistance programs, it is apparent that they foster several ethical principles. The most prevalent of these ethical issues include autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance, and fidelity. Autonomy refers to a person’s right of freedom or the right to make their own choices, assuming they are mentally competent to do so. An example of this would be the nurses right to seek help for a substance abuse problem. The nurse has the freedom to choose whether or not to go to treatment and no one else can force him or her to obtain help. Beneficence is the ability to prevent harm or promote good within the heath care setting. Non-malfeasance is to do no harm and fidelity states that it is the nurse’s job to always practice faithfully. It is these ethical principles that serve as the backbone for all nursing practice. Nurses are required to abide by these principles as stated by the rules and regulations set forth by the Texas Board of Nursing and the Nursing Practice Acts. In regard to this case study, several ethical perspectives by both the patient and the nurse need to be considered. First of all, when it comes to substance abuse the patient would most likely take the perspective that the nurse violated the ethical codes of fidelity, beneficence, and non-malfeasance. The patient has the right to receive proper treatment and when a nurse abuses substances,
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