The legal and ethical elements of nursing are vital for maintaining standards and ensuring the safety and rights of patients. Here are examples of ethical and legal aspects in nursing.
- Nursing care is patient-centered. This means that nurses are legally and ethically required to respect the autonomy and individuality of every patient. It is important to respect patient privacy and provide information that’s clear and easy-to-understand. Patients should also be involved in the decision making process.
- Nursing is part of a team with other professionals in the healthcare field. The nurses have an ethical and legal responsibility to work effectively with the other healthcare professionals to provide safe and effective patient care.
- Nurses must adhere to professional and ethical standards, including the Code of Ethics of the American Nurses Association. These standards describe the expectations and duties of nurses, such as maintaining confidentiality and informed consent.
- Nursing staff have an ethical and legal obligation to make sure that the patient gives informed consent prior to any treatment or medical procedure. Information about risks, benefits and alternatives to the treatment is also provided.
- Nursing obligations to report: As nurses, we have an ethical and legal obligation to inform the public of suspected abuse or neglect of vulnerable groups. Reporting suspected elder abuse or violence, child abuse, and domestic abuse are all included.
- Confidentiality. Nurses are legally and ethically required to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. It is important to protect patient information against unauthorized disclosure and ensure that the patients are in control of their health records.
Nursing practice is not complete without consideration of legal and ethical factors. Nursing professionals must know their obligations in terms of legal and ethical standards and patient safety. The obligations of nurses include providing patient-centered healthcare, working effectively with other health care teams, maintaining high professional standards, receiving informed consent and fulfilling reporting obligations.