Legal and Ethical Concepts of Professional Nursing
QUESTION 1 What is the purpose of the Nursing Practice Act? How do regulations in the Nursing Practice Act guide nurses facing legal or ethical patient care issues? ( at least 500 words or 1 page) QUESTION # 2: How would you respond to working with a colleague who is lacking the ability or knowledge necessary to their duties? (at least 500 words or 1 page) ANSWER Legal and Ethical Concepts of Professional Nursing Name Institution Legal and Ethical Concepts of Professional Nursing QUESTION # 1 Nursing is a profession in healthcare aimed at the care of families, individuals, and communities. Nurses ensure they maintain, attain, or recover quality of life and optimal health from birth to death. In nursing ethical responsibility and conflicts are experienced due to the unique association in professional practice (Blais, Hayes & Kozier, (2006). Ethical concerns have dramatically increased due to advances in clients rights, medical and reproductive technology, the provision of limited resources, and legal and social changes. To guide the nurses professionally, state, national, and international provincial nursing institutions set standards of conduct using codes of ethic (Blais, Hayes & Kozier, (2006). Nurses apply the code of ethics to implement ethical principles in making decisions and consider the clients values and beliefs as well as theirs (Chiarella & McInnes, 2008). Nurses also have to advocate for clients by protecting their rights. The nursing practice act was endorsed to define the limitations of professional nursing and regulate the nursing practice for the purpose of public protection. It does not define specific nursing responsibilities that ought to be effectively followed. The act was developed not to cater for nurses discriminatory and employment issues but to protect public welfare, health, and safety from incompetent practice. Every nurse is ethically accountable and responsible for decision making and working in accordance with experience in nursing and individual educational background (Chiarella & McInnes, 2008). During professional nursing practice there are times when legal requirements do not emerge compatible to ethical advance. Nurses face a lot of problems in practice as they sometimes opt to see what is ethical to do and fail to apply laws where needed (Chiarella & McInnes, 2008). Similarly, institution policies may also bring conflict if they position the nurses at a similar workplace. The nursing practice act provides guidelines for nurses facing legal and ethical issues. Nurses should not perform acts beyond the approved capacity of practice for the nursing level one is licensed (Blais, Hayes & Kozier, (2006). Nurses should not assume responsibilities and duties within the nursing practice if they have not maintained competence or prepared fully. Policies and procedure ought to be followed mainly in situations structured to safeguard the client. Assigning incompetent and unprofessional individuals to practice duties of licensed nurses contrary to the safety, health, and welfare of the patient should be avoided (Chiarella & McInnes, 2008). Nurses should also avoid risking the patients welfare and health from incompetent licensed nurses through negligently failing to take action. The nursing practice act maintains disciplinary action ought to be taken if any of the above guidelines are to be violated. QUESTION # 2: Incompetence is the uncertainty or lack of experience, knowledge, and ability. As a professional nurse, one should look out for incompetent nurses to safeguard the patient from harm and the hospital from legal cases. Before taking action it is advisable to have all the details and facts. Taking note of events, time, date, among other issues will give enough evidence to prove the colleague is incompetent. When working with an incompetent colleague the first action would be to report to the administration or supervisors (Northrop, 1986). This would ensure I safeguard the patients welfare from the colleague as he could cause harm. The administration reserves the legal rights to investigate the patient and take action. If not satisfied with the administration actions, one ought to report the case to professional and licensing institutions (Northrop, 1986). In case there is a situation that I have to handle a patient because my colleague is lacking the knowledge to do so, I opt to critically think. The need for control always arises when dealing with incompetence (Wicklund & Braun, 1987). I would confront the colleague directly and stand up and criticize on the inability. Asking the colleague confronting questions ensures that he or she understands the situation at hand (Wicklund & Braun, 1987). This will prompt for change as the colleague will fell insecure or not competent thus securing the patient. Use experience and educational and professional background to decide. I would assess my abilities, strengths, skills, and knowledge to undertake the duty while assessing if there is any help around. Identifying options before deciding is critical. I would identify the possible consequences, risks, solution, and whether it is accessible and acceptable (Wicklund & Braun, 1987). By putting all these into consideration I will be legally and ethically accountable and responsible to take action at an acceptable point of competency. If my decision is not prohibited by the nursing practice act and I can handle the situation effectively using my ability and knowledge then I would undertake the task of my colleague in certain circumstances. Consultation before reacting is observable from Wicklunds (1987) reports and studies. If one continues having doubts over an issue its best to consult other superior or higher authority for guidance (Northrop, 1986). In conclusion nurses are faced with legal and ethical issue in practicing what their beliefs and values and applying laws where they apply. The nursing practice act offers a guideline for nurses in handling rampant legal and ethical issues that are determined by changing medical technology, client rights, legal and social changes, and the availability of resources (Blais, Hayes & Kozier, (2006). References Blais, K., Hayes, J. & Kozier, B. (2006). Professional Nursing Practice: Concepts and Perspectives (5th Ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson/Prentice Hall. Chiarella, M., & McInnes, E. (2008). Legality, morality and reality the role of the nurse in maintaining standards of care. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26(1), 77-83. Northrop, C. E. (1986). YOUR COLLEAGUE IS INCOMPETENT? SPEAK UP. Nursing,16(12), 35. Wicklund, R. A., & Braun, O. L. (1987). Incompetence and the concern with human categories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(2), 373-382.