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Legal Responsibilities of a Nurse - Essay Example

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Nursing shortage is becoming a mounting challenge to modern healthcare institutions. Evidences indicate that nurse shortage can lead to further complications such as infection spreading and medical errors. This paper tends to analyze the given case context of nurse shortage…
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Legal Responsibilities of a Nurse
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Download file to see previous pages From this paper it is clear that nursing laws state that a nurse should act as an intermediary between the physician and the patient. Nurses have to carefully monitor the patient and report to the physician if any abnormality is observed. A nurse is legally responsible for interpreting the patient’s charts and files and thereby identifying what allergic reactions the patient may develop against different medications. Nurses are legally required to provide the patient with assistance in issues like hygiene if the patient needs it. Some patients may move out of the hospital environment and use infectious facilities during the course of treatment. Undoubtedly, this situation would adversely affect the patient’s disease recovery process. Hence, a nurse has the legal responsibility to pay proper attention to his/her patient and thereby avoid those adverse situations. In short, a nurse should avoid all acts that are likely to affect the patient safety or quality of the care badly.       
This discussion highlights that the major legal responsibility of a healthcare employer is that he should maintain a sound healthcare environment where patient safety is specifically met. Healthcare laws indicate that employers are legally required to employ sufficient number of staff that is essential to achieve patient safety and quality care. An employer has the legal responsibility to ensure his employees’ safety and welfare....
In addition, the employer has to ensure that his staffs are provided with necessary medical equipments and other treatment facilities. Employers must provide their staff with a potential worksite environment where elements of stressors are minimal. An employer has the legal responsibility to ensure his employees’ safety and welfare. It is the legal responsibility of an employer to assess the risk factors existing in the workplace environment and do whatever is practicable to minimize the level of those risks. Hence, a healthcare employer should encourage his staff to report any issue or pitfall in the work environment that is likely to hurt patient safety or employee efficiency. In addition, the employer is legally responsible for paying immediate attention to issues that are likely to impact the quality of care. American Medical Association in its code of medical ethics has specified the fundamental elements of doctor-patient relationship and patient’s rights. Those rights involve “the basic right to have adequate health care” and “the right to courtesy, respect, dignity, responsiveness, and timely attention to health needs” (Kwon, n.d). Hence, a medication error will certainly constitute violation of patients’ rights. In the view of Kitchener, “autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, fidelity, and veracity” are the six fundamental ethical principles in the healthcare (as cited in Corey, Schneider & Callanan, 2010, p. 19). Hence, through the medication error, the nurse violated the principle of nonmaleficence, which states that ‘do no harm’ to clients intentionally or unintentionally. Even though the nurse violated the basic nursing principles and thereby patient rights were ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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