Nurses need to understand the legalities involved in the delivery of safe health care. It is import… Show more Nurses need to understand the legalities involved in the delivery of safe health care. It is important to know the standards of care established within your institution as well as the rules and regulations in the nurse practice acts of your state. These are the standards to which you will be held accountable. The American Nurses Association Code of Ethics and many state nursing practice acts require nurses to serve as patient advocates (ANA Code, 2001). A client’s illness, combined with the institutional nature of hospitals, often results in clients becoming passive recipients of health care instead of active partners. Nurses are often called upon to help clients communicate their desires and needs to the health care team and to be vigilant in protecting the client’s safety and legal rights. For example, occasionally a provider’s order may appear suspect or clearly contrary to accepted practice. In such situations, the nurse must exercise professional judgment and refuse to carry out the order if it would place the client in danger. Most hospitals have policies and procedures to assist the nurse in carrying out this advocacy function. These procedures often require the nurse to take the issue up the chain of command from the nursing manager up through the medical chief of staff if necessary. Nurses are increasingly being held liable for negligence in failing to question potentially improper provider orders. American Nurses Association. (2001). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/EthicsStandards/CodeofEthicsforNurses/Code-of-Ethics.pdf Scenario: The nurse works on a med-surg unit and has been given an order to discharge a 72-year-old male who had a total hip replacement four days ago. Per hospital policy, the nurse obtains a set of pre-discharge vital signs and notes the client’s temperature to be 101.9°F. (38.3°C). Upon assessing the client, he tells the nurse that he “feels a bit chilled.” The nurse notifies the client’s physician of the elevated temperature and the client’s comments, but the physician insists the nurse continue with the discharge. 1· What should the nurse do if the client appears too ill for discharge? Is there anyone else the nurse can contact? 2· If the nurse discharges the client and he develops sepsis or a serious illness, is the nurse or the practitioner responsible? 3· What legal repercussions could arise from this situation? • Show less
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