Nursing is a profession that is essential to the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Nurses play a vital role in promoting and protecting the health of the public. They provide care for patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Nursing is a demanding profession, and nurses must be prepared to meet the challenges of a changing healthcare environment.
Nurses must be able to effectively communicate with patients, families, and other members of the healthcare team. They must have strong critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. In addition, nurses must be able to work collaboratively with other members of the healthcare team to ensure that patients receive high-quality care.
The nursing profession faces many challenges, including a shortage of qualified nurses, an aging population, and a changing healthcare environment. Nursing organizations are working to address these challenges and ensure that nurses have the skills and knowledge necessary to provide high-quality care.
Nurses have a great responsibility to ensure their patients’ safety and maintain the public trust. After learning this module, I have acquired enough knowledge to better manage legal and ethical issues at work. In order to provide high-quality care for my patients, I must be knowledgeable in both aspects (Croke, 2003). Nowadays, the public is aware of legal issues and can easily access information about them online.
Nursing staff must keep up with the knowledge so as to better understand how to handle different situations.
There are a few major principles in Nursing: do no harm, beneficence, autonomy, and justice (Chitty & Black, 2011). The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) also provides the Code of Professional Conduct that registered nurses should follow (NMC, 2015). These guidelines ensure that patients receive good quality care from nursing staff and that their rights are protected.
One common legal issue in Nursing is negligence. Nursing staff can be held liable for negligence if they fail to provide a duty of care to their patients (Croke, 2003). To avoid being charged with negligence, it is important for nurses to be aware of their patients’ rights and to follow the Nursing Code of Conduct.
Another legal issue that nurses may encounter is defamation. This can occur when a nurse makes a false statement about another person that damages their reputation (Croke, 2003). To avoid being charged with defamation, nurses should be careful about what they say about other people, especially if it is not based on fact.
Consequently, medical litigation claims are on the rise. Generally, claims against nurses arise from acts of medical negligence (Tay, 2001). I am accountable for my own behavior and if I do not act as a reasonable prudent person would in specific circumstances, I may be liable for committing medical negligence (Chitty & Blackm 2011).
Nursing is a profession that is based on caring for others, and as such, nurses need to be aware of their own personal limitations in order to provide quality care. If I am not comfortable with a certain procedure, or do not feel confident in my ability to perform it, I need to communicate this to my supervisor or another more experienced nurse.
There are also many ethical issues that nurses need to be aware of. Informed consent is one such issue. This means that patients have the right to know about their condition, the risks and benefits of any treatment options, and what will happen if they refuse treatment (Chitty & Black, 2011). Patients also have the right to make autonomous decisions about their care, and nurses need to respect these decisions.
Confidentiality is another important ethical issue. Patients have a right to expect that their personal information will be kept confidential, and nurses need to be aware of the implications of breaching confidentiality. For example, if I discuss a patient’s condition with someone who is not authorized to have access to this information, I could be liable for breaching confidentiality (Chitty & Black, 2011).
Nurses also need to be aware of their own professional boundaries. This means understanding the limits of my professional relationship with patients and maintaining appropriate boundaries (Chitty & Black, 2011). For example, it would not be appropriate for me to become friends with a patient or to start a romantic relationship with a patient.
There are many other professional issues that nurses need to be aware of, such as the Nursing Code of Ethics, infection control procedures, and handling hazardous materials. It is important for nurses to stay up-to-date on these issues so that they can provide quality care to their patients.
Croke (2003) lists several ways that nurses can act negligently, such as failing to adhere to standards of care, not utilizing equipment correctly, poor communication or documentation, failing to monitor patients effectively, and not acting in the best interests of their patients.
Nursing negligence can also result from workplace violence, patient suicide and wrong medication administration. Nursing negligence cases have led to multimillion-dollar settlements in the United States (Croke, 2003).
Patient safety is a major concern in nursing. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report on To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System estimated that 44,000 to 98,000 people die each year in the United States as a result of preventable medical errors (IOM, 1999). The IOM report also found that for every death due to medical errors, there are an estimated six to eight serious injuries (IOM, 1999). Nursing errors account for a significant proportion of these preventable deaths and injuries.
According to Hurwitz in 1998, if a patient wants to prove medical negligence occurred, they must show that: The defendant nurse owed them a duty of care and failed to provide the minimum required reasonable standard of care.
The plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the breach and resulted in damages. “Today, the courts are very reluctant to second-guess a nurse’s judgment. They realize that nurses must make decisions quickly, often with inadequate information, and under sometimes chaotic conditions. In general, as long as the nurse exercises reasonable care in making her decision, she will not be held liable for any resulting injury.”
– Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life.
– Nursing can be differentiated from other health care providers by its approach to patient care, training, and scope of practice.
– Nurses practice in a wide diversity of practice areas with a different scope of practice and level of prescriber authority in each.
– Nursing has been described as both an art and a science; it incorporates cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains.
– Nursing is a caretaking profession that requires both physical and emotional labor.
– Nursing is often undervalued, and nurses are sometimes treated as second-class citizens within the healthcare system.
– The nursing profession has its own unique body of knowledge, which includes evidence-based practice.