Ethics and Legalities in Nursinghttps://www.ncsbn.org/Professional_Boundaries_2007_Web.pdf Vicki Thornley, MSN, RN, CNE and Alicia Anger MSN,RN N-401 Fall 2010
Objectives • Definitions as applied to ethical decisions nurses make during care of clients • ANA Code of ethics • Advance Directives - MPA • Ethical dilemma steps
Foundation • Ethics – philosophical ideals of right and wrong behavior. • Ethics is not religion or law • Nurses have a duty to practice ethically and morally • Tells us how human beings should behave, not necessarily what they do. Not a religion, not law, but both of these can be the basis of ethical decisions that you make. • The word duty is a legal term…
Ethical Issues • Moral uncertainty/conflict • When the nurse is unsure which moral principle to apply, or even what the problem is. Common with new nurses, they’re not sure what they are supposed to be doing • Moral distress • When the individual knows the right thing to do but organizational constraints keep them from doing it • Moral outrage • An individual witnesses an immoral act by another but feels powerless to stop it • Moral/ethical dilemma • Occurs when two or more clear principles apply but they support inconsistent courses of action • Self-awareness • Not an ethical issue, but is absolutely vital in ethical decision making
Ethical Frameworks • Utilitarian – most good, least harm • Most common approach, “First do no harm” is related to this. Attempts to produce the greatest good with the least harm. • Rights based– best protects the rights and respects the moral rights of those affected • Begins with idea of human dignity and freedom of choice. The pt has the right to make the decision. • Duty based- duty to do or to refrain from doing something • Decisions are made because there is duty! • Common good – best for community/society • Decisions should be made on what is good for the community as a whole, not necessarily for the individual. Where many of our nations laws are base • Virtue – actions consistent with certain ideal virtues • Decisions should be directed at maintaining virtues (honesty, courage, compassion, etc.). A person using this approach may ask themselves, “If I carry out these actions, what kind of person will I be?”
Principles Ethical Reasoning • Autonomy • Beneficence • Nonmaleficence • Confidentiality • Double Effect • Fidelity • Justice • Paternalism • Respect for Persons • Sanctity of Life • Veracity
Autonomy • Definition: “autos” = self, “nomos” = rule • Individual rights • Privacy • Freedom of choice • Pt has the right to make decisions for themselves. May see this come up with consent for treatment issues, informed consent. Pt has right to know procedure, complications, other options, that they can opt to not have the procedure/treatment. Framework is rights based
Beneficence & Nonmaleficence • Duty to do good • goodness, kindness, charity • Includes nonmaleficence • Centerpiece for caring • Duty: NOT TO CAUSE harm • Duty: PREVENT harm • Duty: REMOVE harm • More binding than beneficence • Because you’re going beyond just trying to do good to that pt, you’re trying to prevent harm
Confidentiality • Keep privileged information private • Exceptions • Protecting one person’s privacy harms another or threatens social good (direct threat to another person) • Drug abuse in employees, elder and child abuse • HIPAA
Double Effect • Some actions can be morally justified even though consequences may be a mixture of good and evil • Must meet 4 criteria: • The action itself is morally good or neutral • The agent intends the good effect and not the evil (the evil may be foreseen but not intended) • The good is not achieved by the evil • There is no favorable balance of good over evil
Fidelity • Duty to be faithful to one’s commitments • includes implicit and explicit promises • Make a promise, follow thru • Implicit – those promises that are implied, not verbally communicated • Like when pt comes into the hospital, they expect to be cared for • Explicit – those that we verbally communicate • Like if you tell them you’ll be back with pain meds, you’d better come back
Justice • Seeks fairness • More specifically, distributive justice refers to distribution of benefits and burdens • Distributive Justice Concepts • Equally disbursed according to • Need • Effort • Societal contribution • Merit • Legal entitlement
Paternalism • When one individual assumes the right to make decisions for another • Limits freedom of choice • Think about parents making decisions for children • Ex. Withholding pertinent information from a pt. Like elderly dx with terminal cancer, and family asks to not tell them that it’s terminal so they will still be motivated to fight
Respect for Persons • Closely tied to autonomy • Promotes ability of individuals to make autonomous choices and should be treated accordingly • Autonomy is preserved thru advanced directives.
Sanctity of Life • Life is the highest good • All forms of life, including mere biologic existence, should take precedence over external criteria for judging quality of life • If life is the highest good, is it ethical to keep a brain dead person alive?
Veracity • The obligation to tell the truth and not to lie or deceive others
Ethics and Professional Practice • ANA Code of ethics & ICN Code • TX BON Rules & Regs • NCSBN Professional Boundaries • Informed consent • Durable power of attorney for healthcare guardian • Euthanasia • Assisted suicide • Death • Disasters
American Nurses Association(ANA) Code of Ethics • Applies to all nurses in all healthcare settings • Ethical principles agreed upon by members of the nursing profession • Sets standards of conduct and behaviors for nurses • http://www.nursingworld.org/mainmenucategories/ethicsstandards/codeofethicsfornurses
ANA Code of Ethics – Key Points • Applies in course of professional practice: • Primary commitment is topatient (individual, family or community) • Demonstrates compassion and respect for all patients regardless of patient status • Promotes the health and welfare of patients • Accountable for individual practice. • Maintains and increases own knowledge base • Works to improve healthcare environment for providers and patients
ICN Code of Ethics • International Council of Nurses Code of Ethics • 4 fundamental responsibilities of Nurses • Promote health • Prevent illness • Restore health • Alleviate suffering • http://www.icn.ch/icncode.pdf
Nurses Rights in Ethical Situations • Nurse has the right to refuse to participate in giving care to a client if they disagree with care on ethical grounds. • Upheld by ANA • Assure client is not abandoned for care • The Joint Commission (TJC) requires employers to establish policies and mechanisms to address staff requests not to participate in aspects of care that conflict with cultural values or religious beliefs.
Nursing Practice Regulations • TBON – Texas Board of Nursing • Regulates nursing practice in Texas • Creates Rules and Regulations to administer the Nurse Practice Act (NPA) • Describes rules of conduct for nurses • Rule 213.27 – Good Professional Character • Rule 217.11 – Standards of Practice • Rule 217.12 – Unprofessional Conduct • http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=3&ti=22&pt=11
NCSBN Professional Boundaries Concepts of Professional Boundaries • Boundaries:Space between nurse’s power and client’s vulnerability • Crossings:Brief excursions across boundaries that may be inadvertent, thoughtless, or even purposeful if done to meet a specific therapeutic need https://www.ncsbn.org/Professional_Boundaries_2007_Web.pdf
NCSBN Professional Boundaries Concepts of Professional Boundaries • Violations:results when there is confusion between the needs of the nurse and those of the client. • Sexual misconduct: extreme form of violation that is seductive, sexually demeaning, harassing or interpreted as sexual by the client. https://www.ncsbn.org/Professional_Boundaries_2007_Web.pdf
Identifying Boundary Crossings • Excessive self-disclosure • When the nurse discusses personal feelings or aspects of their personal life in front of the pt • Secretive behavior • When the nurse keeps secrets with the client or when the nurse becomes guarded when someone questions their interactions • “super nurse” • When the nurse believes only he or she can meet the needs of the client • Selective communication • When the nurse fails to explain actions or actions of care
Identifying Boundary Crossings • Singled out client treatment/client attention to the nurse • Nurse spends inappropriate amts of time with the client, client may give gifts to the nurse • Flirtations • Never, ever, appropriate, or ok, ever, ever… • You and me against the world behavior • Nurse views client in a protective manner • Failure to protect the client • Nurse doesn’t’ recognize sexual feelings towards the client
Nurse’s Challenge • Be aware • Be cognizant of feelings and behaviors • Be observant of the behavior of other professionals • Always act in the best interest of the client https://www.ncsbn.org/Professional_Boundaries_2007_Web.pdf
Informed Consent • Core underlying value is patient autonomy • Physician / practitioner obtains consent • Nurses role: witness / monitor • Emergency consent is presumed when patient unable to provide • Informed consent is a process that people go thru, not just a paper. • Nurses role is to make sure pt understands everything and that the person that signs is the person who needs to be signing! The nurse can’t go in and explain the procedure again, if you contradict what the doc told the pt, you’re in big trouble! Don’t do it!
Capacity to Form Consent • Decision-making capacity (not competency) determined by: • Appreciation of right to make the choice • Understanding of risks/benefits of procedure • Understanding of risks/benefits of opting out of procedure • Ability to communicate decision • Communication may not always be verbal, can be written or whatever • Needs to have interpreter avl! Can’t just use the family or whatever • Use layman jargon. Normal words… Don’t say layman jargon.
Advance Directives • Include • Directive to Physician and Family or Surrogate • Most common. Allows pt to document wishes for tx or withdrawal, also commonly known as “Living Will” • Medical Power of Attorney • Allows the pt to designate another person as their decision maker • Out of Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order • Allows competent adults to refuse life sustaining procedures when out of the hospital setting. Can include not wanting to be taken to ER, let me sit here and die… • Declaration of Mental Health Treatment • Allows a court to determine incapacity and allows the pt to refuse electro convulsive therapy (ECT) and psychoactive drugs • Sometime generically called “Living Will” • Not same as DNR (do not resuscitate) • These are written during hospitalization after the doc and the pt (or pt surrogate) decide to withdrawal life sustaining treatments. • Advanced Directives are documents that state in writing the pts wishes for healthcare interventions if they should become incapacitated.
Other Contingencies… • Directives unavailable / never done • Autonomy versus “best interest” of clients • Substituted judgment • Legal standard that presumes the surrogate is capable of making decisions for that pt • Dementia clients • Dementia diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean the pt is incapable of making their own decisions. Esp in the first few stages of dementia. Pt is very alert and very aware and very much can make that decision for themselves.
Withholding/Withdrawing Care • Can withhold “inhumane” treatment if it is “virtually futile” in extending life – usually DNR • Allowing to die vs making die
Euthanasia • Definition – intentional termination of life (at the request of that person who wishes to die) Active vs. Passive • Generally illegal • May be legal under certain circumstances • Active – involves purposefully causing the persons death (doc or nurse). Dr. Kevorkian. Usually involved with law problems • Passive – involves hastening of death by altering some form of support, taking a pt off a vent, generally accepted by medical community • Terminal sedation • Doctrine of Double Effect (the whole intent of the act, thing) • Do a thing with one intent, but causes something else to happen – morphine OD • Procedure used in dying pts to relieve suffering. Pts who are in extreme pain may chose terminal sedation
Assisted Suicide • Patient actively seeks physician/nurse to “help” them commit suicide • Criminal offense in all states but Oregon, Washington, and Montana • Usually pt is given prescriptions in amts that are legal and the pt decides if they want to use it.
Defining Death • Uniform Determination of Death Act – patient is dead if any one of the following conditions are met: • Cardiopulmonary death • Neurological death • Whole brain death – Flat EEG • Not PVS – (persistent vegetative state)
Ethical Dilemmas • the action or situation involves actual or potential harm to someone or some thing • a possibility of a violation of what we generally consider right or good • is this issue about more than what is legal or what is most efficient?
How to Process an Ethical Dilemma • Determine whether or not a dilemma exists • Gather all relevant information • Reflect on your values on the issues • Verbalize problem • Consider all possible courses of action – including referral to ethics committee • Negotiate outcome • Evaluate action, not the outcome.
Conclusion • Know yourself and your values • Protect your patient by intervening if you identify an ethical question • Know your facility policy for access to the ethics committee • Know your responsibilities with regard to informed consent • Respect the patient’s advance directives
Excerpts: ANA Code of Ethics • The nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.
Excerpts (cont’d) • The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community. • The nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.
Excerpts (cont’d) • The nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice; and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurses obligation to provide optimum patient care.
Excerpts (cont’d) • The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth.
Excerpts (cont’d) • The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving health care environments and conditions of employment conductive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values of the profession through individual and collective action.
Nursing Legalities Alicia Anger, MSN, RN N-401 Fall 2010 44
Learning Outcomes 45 Describe sources of law that affect nursing practice Professional negligence Avoiding Malpractice claims Causes for suspension/revocation of license Legal responsibilities of Nurse Leaders
What is law? 47 • Law • Rules of conduct • Authored & enforced by formal authorities • Hold people Accountable for compliance • Purpose of Nursing Law • Protect – patient and nurse • Scope of practice (define it)
Sources of Law Constitution: establishes a basis for a governing system (highest law that gives authority to the other branches) Statutes: laws that govern Administrative agencies: given authority to create rules and regulations to enforce statutes (like texas board of nursing) Court decisions: interpret statutes and determine consequences
Types of Court Cases & Laws Criminal law:crimes committed against an individual or society, innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Consequences range from fine to jail to death penalty Civil law: one individual sues another for money b/c of a perceived loss. Guilty verdict is based on the belief that the accused is more likely than not to have caused the injuries. Consequence is usually $$ Administrative law: individual is sued by a state/federal agency responsible for enforcing statutes. Based on a clear and convincing standard. 49
Professional Negligence Negligence:the omission to do something that a reasonable and prudent person in a reasonable situation would or would not do Prudent: the average judgment, foresight, intelligence and skill expected of a person of similar training or experience Malpractice:failure of a person with professional training to act in a reasonable and prudent manner 50