Ethical and Legal Issues

The legal and ethical concerns that the situation in the scenario raises.
The possible actions or inactions that could be taken and the implications of those actions.
You do not need to provide the ‘right’ answers, what you will be assessed on is your ability to determine the
implications of different actions or inactions from a legal and ethical perspective.
Firstly, think of the possible courses of action (or inaction) that could be taken and then consider, do any ethical
theories support (or not) the actions that you discuss?
Which ethical principles, doctrines or concepts apply to the actions/inactions put forward and if so, how?
Do any of the ethical principles conflict with each other or with the law?
Which torts or other legal concerns apply to your suggested actions/inactions?
Consider the Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics and RN Standards of Practice (2016), how do they apply to this
situation?
Scenario:
On 18th January 2020, Nicole Mary Smith (pseudonym) was admitted to the Emergency department of a private
hospital with the chief complaints of abdominal pain, poor appetite, and urinary symptoms. Upon review by the
Emergency physician, she was admitted to the surgical ward for further investigations and symptom
management. The patient is an 86-year old woman, who lives in an assisted living facility. Her daughter and her
grandson live in a nearby suburb and often visit her. During the preceding two weeks, Nicole’s condition has
drastically deteriorated. Her daughter appears to be anxious and has narrated her struggle to manage the visits to
the hospital and her work and family responsibilities. The visiting Oncologist has refereed Nicole to the
palliative care team after the initial diagnosis of metastatic ovarian cancer.
You are the registered nurse looking after Nicole. You entered the room to administer pain relief, the patient’s
daughter approaches you and says, “Why do you keep bothering us, do not give her any injections; she is going
to die anyway”. She goes on, “I just cannot wait for all of this to be over; I have my own family to look after”.
You realize her concerns and try to reassure her. However, you been new to palliative care and are finding the
situation challenging.
Write an academic essay on Ethical and legal issues in nursing, specific to the given scenario. Provide
supporting evidence to your claims and include recommendations to improve future practice.

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