Nursing is defined as providing care to the healthy or sick individuals for preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative needs. The Consumers are patients with complex needs. With increased awareness of health care, health care facilities and Consumer Protection Act, patients/clients are getting awareness about their rights. Nurses also have now the expanded role, with the result the legal responsibility is increased. Hence, it is important for nursing personnel working in hospital, community and educational field to develop understanding of Legal and Ethical Issues of Nursing.
You have read in Unit 2 of of this block about nursing standards for patient care. The consumers/patients have right to ask the care they are entitled for. So, in this unit the emphasis will be on legal and nursing related definitions, ethics and ethical issues related to nursing. The content also includes ethical approaches, ethical principles, ethical dilemma in nursing and significance of studying ethics in Nursing. The legal implications in various 70 nursing situations are also included. The content also provides the list of human rights and rights of elderly.
For examples code for nurses prescribed by ANA describes about Deontological approach. Also another example is lying or killing is wrong. Let us clarify with the help of example. A Head Nurse/Nurse In-charge using deontological approach would apply rules relevant to a situation. Use of restraints which may be to prevent patient from harming herself/himself would demand the In-charge to act from conscience, faith or duty in making such a decision. The nurse In-charge would make a decision which is based on moral rule.
As per deontological approach, right and wrong of an act is determined by feature of an act or its consequences. Utilitarian Approach Utilitarian approach is concerned with the end product of action. What are the consequences of action. The end product, goal or consequence of the action is important. This theory has been emphasized by David Hume and others. The Emphasis in the theory is on: greatest goods for the greatest number. No acts are right or wrong. The right act is the one that leads to the greatest good consequences or least possible consequences for all persons affected.
It emphasis on how certain action affect the general welfare in all given situations. It is more a community ethic: for example how are the resources of health care allocated? Egoistic/Hedonistic Approach In egoistic approach, the solution to the problem is based on what is best for one self. The nurse acting as per the egoistic approach feels that whatever decision s/he has made is best for the patient, and with such a decision nurse feels comfortable. The decision may not have any benefit/harm for the patient or relatives.
According to this approach the patient is not the primary consideration. For example a nurse plans to give bath to all the patients at 8 O’clock in the morning or all patients should be given medicine at 8 O’clock in the morning are examples of Egoistic/Hedonistic approach. The nurse is dealing with human beings who have complex s/he needs to be flexible in her/his approach.