Legal aspects of nursing Name: Institution: Introduction Legal aspects in nursing: case study In this case, a nurse was working in a critical care unit, but suspicion later began as she was diverting narcotics for her personal use. The Acute care hospital had recently installed computerized medicine cabinet that could enhance the tracking and monitoring of the narcotic distribution process…
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On trial, other nurses stated that they frequently made paper records during breaks or at end of shift, often when they could hardly remember the dosages administered to patients. In addition, nurses would electronically sign for narcotics and prepare IV drip bags in advance of when needed and discard the same when no longer required or when physicians changed orders. In addition, nurses deviated from physicians order for an IM injection by thus electing to provide medication by an IV route. In addition, the hospital lacked a clear policy on when nurses such as preceptor and mentee, both had a responsibility for patient care. The suspended nurse also admitted that she recorded the data long after administration and in some cases in the following day (Guido, 2009). Legal aspects in nursing provide the framework for establishing the acceptable care to the client and outline the responsibilities of the nurses. The law in nursing also outlines the boundaries in independent actions of nursing and provides for the standards of nursing practice. Nursing law ensures that nurses obtain the informed consent of the patients before any treatment and provide information to the clients on any condition that requires diagnosis and also the benefits and risks of the alternative modes of treatment (Guido, 2009). In the above case, the facility has sufficient evidence to suspend the nurse from employment. The nurse is liable since she testified that she recorded their paper documents at the end of the shifts or even the following day. According to legal framework, the nurse must carry out the physician orders unless she reasonably believes that there is an error. The nurse must seek a clarification from the physician or immediate supervisor; otherwise she is liable for any harm experienced by the patient. If nurses are requested to float to another unit, the nurse must have the capacity and experience to carry out the duties since one is held liable for the same standards of care as those other nurses working regularly in that unit. In addition, the nurse is liable for not reporting unsafe nursing practice such as theft of narcotics in the facility (Guido, 2009). Surprisingly, the facility had allowed nurses to sign for narcotics electronically and prepare IV drips in advance and discard the same IV bags when not needed by the physicians. The evidence of other nurses is critical in determining the outcome of this case since other nurses did not follow the legal procedure in medical documentation. The nurses clarified that they had deviated from physician’s order for an IM injection, thus choosing to provide medication by IV route. Finally, the organisation lacked a standard procedure and policy framework for paper records when a preceptor and a mentee were involved. The testimony other nurses would impact on the outcome of the case. For instance, the testimony proves the negligence of the hospital facility in safeguarding the safety of patients since not policies that outline the working relationship of a preceptor and mentee and who should record the narcotics usage. The institutions should first preview the paper record documentation of all nurses and review the authority of each personnel in the organisation. The institution should also review the nurse-patient relationship before the court of law (Guido, 2009). If I
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