The Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia states that nurses must value quality nursing care for all people, value the diversity within the people, ensure a culture of safety and engage in informed decision making. Considering that the woman of the elderly hospitalized woman spoke only Italian, the decision to make a referral to a qualified health interpreter to clarify communication would is extremely important to uphold the values of the nursing profession within Australia. Nursing is committed to the fundamental ethical standards and values, which warrant informed decision making at every stage possible. Naturally, failing to understand what the old lady had to say would be in contravention to all the values of the nursing profession in Australia, and informed decision making would certainly be hindered.
The case scenario depicts that over the past 6 months, the nurse is being rostered to work every weekend and public holiday. Moreover, while a few weekends were asked as day offs, none of them were granted. In terms of the most appropriate course of action, reporting the same to the management or the Fair Work Ombudsman should be the ideal thing to do. Fair Work Act 2009 defines bullying as the repeated engagement of discriminatory treatment or unreasonable behaviour. To classify the actions as bullying, it would be important to clarify whether all the nurses were being treated similarly. It could then occur that the rush was due to the limited workforce within the hospital. However, if only one nurse was being targeted, it would certainly classify as bullying.
The two ethical principles that I have used in making the decision are beneficence and non-maleficence.
The ethical principle of beneficence is primarily defined as an act of mercy or kindness that includes a relatively strong connotation of a moral obligation. It refers to the innate quality or state of doing well or engaging in a good activity. Beneficence also tends to manifest as a foundational moral imperative.
The definition of non maleficence refers to providing a standard of care where no harm is done in an intentional manner. It essentially refers to the avoidance of the causation of harm. The risks of an act must be minimised to the fullest extent.
The two ethical principles in the context of guiding my decision making process was largely aligned with the professional standards that a nurse should maintain at all times. Accidentally giving the patient the wrong medication is a serious violation, and it was my moral responsibility to report to the Nurse Unit Manager so that corrective measures could be taken. The moral responsibility is related to the ethical principle of beneficence. In terms of the principle of non maleficence, administering wrong medication can lead to severe consequences and it could lead to subsequent legal repercussions for the personally as well as the organisation. The principle of non-maleficence relates to avoiding the causation of harm, and I reported to my Nurse Unit Manager so that it is established that I did not administer the medication wilfully.
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