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Law, Ethics &Accountability for Nurses - Essay Example

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These aspects help guide legal and ethical practice for the benefit of the patient and for the protection of the credibility of the nursing practice. This paper shall study and evaluate…
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Law, Ethics &Accountability for Nurses
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Law, Ethics &Accountability for Nurses

Download file to see previous pages... This study is being conducted in order to comprehensively explain the legal and ethical issues which nurses often encounter and the possible ways that such issues can be legally and ethically resolved.
In the first scenario, a nurse decided independently to indicate in the chart of an 80 year old end-stage heart failure patient that the latter is classified as ‘not-for-resuscitation’ or NFR. The NFR order was not consulted with the patient’s doctor. Moreover, since the patient was too ill to express her consent or dissent to the order, her husband’s consent was secured. The nurse recorded in the patient’s chart that the on-call physician approved the NFR order. The physician also apparently agreed to the discontinuance of the patient’s continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. The following day, the patient died and the cause of death was not the withdrawal of the CPAP but because of a heart attack. The RN was later fired for disregarding the chart orders which indicated that the patient’s medical treatment should be continued.
The relevant legal and professional issues in the above case can be broken down to: a) the RN’s independent decision on the NFR decision – without proper consultation with the patient’s physician and in violation of orders indicated in the patient’s chart; and in b) ordering the withdrawal of the treatment without proper consultation with the patient.
First and foremost, NFR orders are decisions and orders which are indicated in patient’s charts by the patient’s doctor. It cannot be independently decided upon by the nurse without proper consultation with the physician. In turn, this decision is made by the physician after proper consultation with the patient (Dames Clinical Nursing Education Site, 2010). The function of a nurse in NFR orders is to carry it out and to follow the directive as indicated in the patient’s chart. In the current case, the nurse independently decided that an NFR ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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