Ethics And Law In Nursing Context University Essay

1036 words - 5 pages

The aim of this assignment is to reflect back on a critical incident that happened whilst on placement. The incident will include an ethical issue with an elderly lady who has dementia and refused to take her medications whilst under our care. The author will discuss how the situation arose and why there was a need to covert her medication and will look at law and ethical issues surrounding covert medication. Laws on consent and mental capacity which are in place to protect patients will also be looked at. A model of reflection will be used to reflect back on the incident, looking at each of the stages of Gibbs model of reflection to help breakdown the incident. Moral theories and principles and how they influence decision making in nursing will be discussed and related to the patient. For the purpose of this assignment and to comply with the NMC, (the code 2008) on confidentiality my patient will be called Mrs M.
Nurses are required to work within the law and according to the requirements of the NMC the code. These rules and legal obligations are set out for nurses and midwives who have a legal and professional duty to care for patients when under their care and are accountable for their actions; this is to protect patients so they are not harmed by your acts or omissions (Griffith & Tengnah 2008). Fremgen (2009) quotes that law is a system of principles and rules of human conduct prescribed by society and enforced by public authority. Buka (2008) states for a law to be effective it should have sanctions for punishing those who fail to adhere to its stipulations. Laws are developed in response to the needs of society and the survival of the law depends on customary usage.
With the Human Rights Act in force, Patients Association and other informative organisations, patients and families are becoming more aware of their rights and are more open to challenging healthcare decisions such as end of life issues or do not attempt resuscitation orders (DNAR). Nurses need to understand the law and to make sure they are making the right decisions for their patients. The NMC the code (2008) states that 'As a professional, you are personally accountable for actions and omissions in your practice and must always be able to justify your decisions'. Knowledge of legal principles helps nurses to recognise and understand lawful boundaries and act within the law should a situation arise. It is also important for nurses to keep up to date with new legislations. The NMC state that is the duty of the nurse to keep up to date with, and adhere to, relevant legislation, case law, national and local policies (NMC 2008). Insufficient knowledge of the law is not a valid excuse for breaking the law (Boylan-Kemp, 2009) whilst Dimond (2005) quotes "ignorance of the law is no defense and the nurse should be aware of the limits which the law imposes on her, and also the power it gives her". As a result nurses must have the knowledge and understanding of the law to work within...

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