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Ethics - Essay Example

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Running head: ETHICS Ethics: Working with an Impaired Physician (Name of Professor) Ethics: Working with an Impaired Physician Introduction One of the most important functions of the nurse is the collaboration and coordination of care with the members of the healthcare team, especially the primary healthcare provider, or the physician…
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Download file to see previous pages However, as much as the nurse’s role is to his/her patient, the nurse also has a significant duty to protect and work well with the other members of the health care team. As member of the healthcare team, the nurse is expected to defend and protect those that belong in the same profession she is in, provided that such an individual is in the side of what is right. Indeed, with this camaraderie and sense of kinship, a nurse feels indignation in witnessing an injustice towards a fellow nurse, even though the nurse does not know the said persecuted individual. However, an issue then rises when principles of ethics are compromised for the sake of that camaraderie. For example, nurses are sometimes asked to cover up inefficiencies and mistakes, just to protect another nurse or even another doctor. During these times, the nurse is then faced with a major ethical dilemma, especially in cases where a patient suffered tremendous loss. An example of this ethical problem is when an impaired physician commits a mistake and asks a nurse to overlook the said mistake. The doctor’s impairment can be caused by a lot of reasons, but the most common of which is advanced age, or physical injuries caused by accidents and similar occurrences. In these times, the nurse is then divided between her duty to her patients, and her duty to the other members of the health care team, such as the physician: she could either report the physician or she could remain quiet about a certain incident. If the nurse carries out the former, this may lead to the revocation of the physician’s license, but at least the nurse was honest and she can have some sort of peace in her mind. However, if she performed the latter and remained silent, the patient may never have justice, but at the same time, the grieving family may find peace and closure a lot more difficult to achieve if they found that the doctor had a fault in the death of their loved one. This ethical dilemma bears with it a lot of possible impacts on the practice nurse, the patient, the patient’s family, and even society itself. For the nurse, protecting a fellow health professional would compromise the care received or to be received by the patient. However, if negligence was revealed, unity, trust and coordination within the healthcare team may be compromised (Diaz & Stamp, 2004), which can also put the patient at risk for further harm or damage. The first scenario may also place the community at a great risk for negligence and incompetence in the hands of an impaired doctor. In relation, this paper will then elaborate on this ethical dilemma, as well as appropriate courses of action that the nurse may take in coming up with a decision. This paper will first discuss the ethical principles involved in the case presented above, and a discussion of the role of the advanced practice nurse will follow. Afterwards, a literature review of studies exploring the said topic will be conducted, and ethical decision-making will be performed in order to be able to solve the problem by using the ethical decision making theory. More importantly, this paper will attempt to prove that when a nurse is faced with the need to decide whether to report an impaired physician or not, she should opt most of all to protect the patient and report the physic ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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