Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing - Essay Example

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Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing Date: Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing Generally, nursing is a healthcare profession that is focused on attaining, maintaining, or recovering optimal health and quality of life of individuals, families, and communities from conception to death…
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Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing
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Download file to see previous pages Cardiac nursing is a nursing specialty that deals with patients who suffer from different cardiovascular system conditions such as congestive heart failure, cardiac dysrhythmia, coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy among others. In the course of work, nurses are subject to a number of ethical and legal issues. This is because their professional duties can be very challenging; there are ethical and legal implications in nearly if not all aspects of their duties. It is in the light of this fact that ethical and legal frameworks have been set up in order to provide moral and practical guidelines that influences nursing decisions. Ethical frameworks are established by the American Nurses Association Code of Nursing Ethics and to an extent by personal and societal values thereby influencing ethical decisions by nurses. According to the American Nurses Association [ANA] (2011), the first provision of Code of Ethics is that, all nurses in their professional relationships should practice respect and compassion for the inherent worth, individual’s uniqueness, and dignity regardless of the personal attributes, nature of health problems, or socio-economic status of the individual. The first ethical issue that arises from this provision is the principle of patient autonomy. This principle assumes that a patient is in a position to understand what a given intervention involves and therefore in a position to refuse or consent to it the American Heart Association [AHA] (2005). Unless they are declared incompetent by a court of law or they are incapacitated, adult patients are presumed to have the ability to make decisions. The patient must be in a position to decide and choose various alternatives available and should relate the decision to values’ stable framework. AHA advises that in an event that the preferences of the patients are uncertain, emergency conditions should be treated first until the clarification for the preferences are made. Additionally, ANA (2011) notes, the patient’s interests are primary. Therefore, it raises the ethical issue of advance directives, living wills, and patient self- determination. An advance directive allows the patient to express his or her wishes and thoughts regarding his or her end- of- life care. They can be based on living wills, attorney’s durable powers for health care, written directives or conversations. A living will relates to patient’s direction to physicians about the medical care to be approved if he or she becomes terminally ill hence unable to make decisions. It is important to note that advance directives and living wills should be considered periodically since the medical conditions and patient’s desires may change over time AHA (2005). Apart from the laid- down ethical frameworks, personal and societal values play a critical role in influencing ethical decision- making especially among the cardiac nurses. The fundamental values of nursing include prevention of suffering, equality among patients and human dignity. As such personal and societal values should be in tandem with this values; failure of which may lead to nursing ethics being compromised. Therefore, personal values that are derived from education, field of expertise, personal attributes, and culture should be geared towards adhering to nursing ethics. Personal values such as responsibility, intelligence, and honesty among others determine the ethical decisions by nurses. If these personal values ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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