In this you will read on Professional Nursing Jurisprudence And Ethics
PROFESSIONAL NURSING JURISPRUDENCE AND ETHICS
It is deeply a great concern when discussing professional nursing ethics and legal issues. In as much as nurses try to execute their responsibilities and mandatory duties to patients there is a need to also consider or put into cognizance the legal autonomy of the patient so as to avert negligence, malpractice and professional misconduct. Some of the opined errors committed and exhibited by some nurses was possibly because of ignorance to the guiding principles that govern the nursing profession. The need to revisit these legal principles and laws is necessary. Even though other times nurses are predispose to the situation of dilemma when trying to put to practice the professional laws as well as the situation that presents itself. It is a great clarion call to every nurse in the world to get acquainted with the nursing professional laws and ethics guiding the practice of the profession.
Only in this light can you avert, prevent and vindicate yourself from the preventable menace and vile that bewilders some nurses during their professional practice and this will help you to be properly placed, confident, courageous and fully armed with knowledge for effective and efficient practice without any fear or doubt nor litigation.
Professional nursing legal ethics are stated as follows:
- Drinking alcohol, stealing drugs either from patients or the hospital store, selling of items or drugs to patients constitute professional gross misconduct.
- It is considered unethical when nurses establishes religious basis for treatment of patients. In no account should a nurse tell the patient to consider religious or traditional (old spiritualism of spirits) help, treatment or therapy instead of medical and nursing management and care respectively even though a nurse can consider the culture and beliefs of the patient.
- A nurse should take relevant medical instructions or any instruction related to enabling patient’s wellbeing and act on them strictly. This caveat portrays that a nurse is not permitted to perform any duty outside his training even though it has been argued that a nurse can query potentially injurious orders from the doctor but should be done in a way to preserve the doctor’s ego (Patrice, 2002).
- A nurse must be aware and informed that a patient has autonomy. Every patient has a right to choice and should be respected by nurse practitioners. The patient’s autonomy should be maintained and not breached.
- It is considered professional negligence when nurses divulge or disclose confidential information of the patient to a third party. Only in certain cases if the information will protect a greater number of an endangered species (principle of doing a greater good to the greater number).
- Always seek the informed consent of the patient before commencing any care or treatment. The patient must agree before anything can be done on him or her or to him or her. Any breach of this is considered an assault.
- A nurse must check and cross check any prescription by the doctor. It is malpractice to administer the wrong drugs, wrong dose, and at wrong timing to patients irrespective of the doctor’s prescription.
- A nurse should not embark on a sexual relationship with a patient especially if the patient is vulnerable. For example, an adult psychiatric nurse in the United Kingdom who married her patient was found guilty of misconduct but because she had an unblemished nursing career she was given a caution (Oluwatomi, 2016).
- No nurse should discriminate, stigmatize or label patients with their disease names e.g. cancer man, Hepatitis guy etc this is considered unethical.
- It is the responsibility of a nurse to save lives and therefore, excuses of lack of facilities, lack of resources, loaded work and other excuses etc should not breach or hinder the responsibility of nurses in saving lives.
- A nurse must act politely, and not hostile to patient. Any breach of this could also be charged as battery and assault.
Written By Nr Danladi Aminu RN, BNSc