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NURS 8100 Week 6: Ethical and Legal Implications of Policy

NURS 8100 Week 6: Ethical and Legal Implications of Policy

Nurses frequently encounter ethical and legal dilemmas that shape their practice. Likewise, those who are responsible for formulating policy and ensuring effective implementation also encounter critical dilemmas related to health law and ethics. For example, how should decisions involving individual rights versus the collective good be made? What other policy-related issues have ethical and legal implications? This week you review the four principles of medical ethics—beneficence, malfeasance, autonomy, and justice. You will examine these principles in the light of current health care policy.

Potential Ethical and Legal Implications for Each of the Following Practice Members:

Medical assistant

In the case scenario, the medical assistant fails to notify the nurse practitioner about a patient with very low blood pressure after getting into a heated argument. The medical assistant could face legal consequences such as litigations on medical negligence grounds (Jacoby & Scruth, 2017). Negligence is apparent when the medical assistant fails to take immediate interventions to improve the patient’s low blood pressure and failing to notify the practitioner for appropriate measures to be taken.

The medical assistant can also face ethical implications for not upholding the ethical principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence. Beneficence is the moral duty to promote good and prevent harm, while nonmaleficence is the moral duty to cause no harm to the patient (Kadivar et al., 2017). The medical assistance failed to uphold beneficence by failing to take the appropriate interventions for a patient with very low blood pressure. Her actions would have caused more harm to the patient, thus failing to uphold the principle of nonmaleficence (Kadivar et al., 2017). Furthermore, the medical assistant can face legal consequences for failure to observe the professional code of conduct, which directs that health providers should act professionally, particularly in the presence of patients.

Nurse Practitioner

The nurse practitioner can face litigations of professional negligence for failing to address conflict in the office setting, promoting an unsafe working environment for staff and patients. Nurse practitioners are trained on leadership skills and are expected to use these skills in the clinical setting to promote a safe and healthy working environment, including positive human interactions (Cullati et al., 2019).  The nurse practitioner can face legal consequences on the grounds of professional negligence for failing to promote a safe patient environment for attending to patients in a violent environment (Jacoby & Scruth, 2017). Besides, the nurse practitioner can be charged for failing to notify the organization’s management of the recurring conflicts among the staff, leading to heated arguments making the environment unsuitable for patient care.

Ethical implications for the nurse practitioner include failing to uphold the ethical principles of nonmaleficence and beneficence. The practitioner puts the patients at risk of harm by attending to them in an unsafe environment characterized by heated staff arguments (Kadivar et al., 2017). Besides, the NP fails to promote good by allowing patients to be served by health providers who fail to prioritize patients’ needs. Patients have a right to be treated with dignity and respect. Failing to promote a peaceful work environment disregards this patient’s rights.

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Medical Director

A medical director’s roles include medical supervision and the overall regulation of all medical facets that may impact an institution’s healthcare system. A medical director is also responsible for ensuring that staff in the organization possess and implement the values of respect, integrity, fairness,  responsibility, mindfulness, and professionalism (Jacoby & Scruth, 2017).  The medical director in this scenario can face charges for professional negligence. The director neglected his responsibility of promoting respect, responsibility, mindfulness, and professionalism among the staff resulting in constant arguments among the staff and a hostile working environment. Furthermore, the medical director risks facing legal actions for not addressing interpersonal conflicts among his staff, which compromise patients’ safety and quality of care (Cullati et al., 2019). The constant arguments in the workplace can mean that the staff are not supervised. The medical director can be dismissed for neglecting his responsibility of supervising the medical staff, which has resulted in the providers also neglecting their responsibilities in patient care.

NURS 8100 Week 6: Ethical and Legal Implications of Policy


The hospital faces the risk of being fined or shut down for having an unhealthy work environment and compromising the safety and quality of patient care (Cullati et al., 2019). The unprofessional behavior of staff could result in the suspension of their practice licenses resulting in losses for the hospital system. Furthermore, patients whose needs are neglected by the staff could press legal charges on the practice resulting in hefty financial implications.

Strategies I Would Implement To Prevent Further Episodes of Potentially Dangerous Patient Outcomes

The strategies that I would put in place to prevent future episodes of potentially dangerous patient outcomes include having the medical assistant presenting a patient’s vital chart before she directs the patient to my office. I would also instruct the medical assistant to report every patient’s vital signs orally before handing over a patient for consultation. Besides, I would provide a triage chart and guideline to the medical assistant to guide her on conditions that require immediate notifications and actions. Furthermore, I will have a blood pressure machine in my office to easily have a blood pressure repeat when in doubt of the documented patients’ vital signs.

Leadership Qualities I Would Apply To Effect Positive Change In The Practice

Leadership qualities that would be essential to effect positive change in the practice include having good communication and collaboration skills. Effective communication skills will include speaking respectfully, listening carefully to understand, and being inquisitive to have a true and clear comprehension (Yufenyuy, 2018). By shifting to a communication approach that is inquisitive and considerate, I will enable the staff to at a collaborative win-win solution, which will minimize conflicts. Implementing collaboration skills will encourage teamwork and high quality of care and promote peaceful and respectful interactions among the staff (Yufenyuy, 2018). Besides, I will demonstrate respect and empathy when communicating with the staff to promote harmonious interactions.

I will apply and train the staff on conflict resolution skills to enable them to solve interpersonal conflict without getting into heated arguments. For instance, I can educate them on the five different approaches to resolving conflict, including avoiding, accommodating, compromising, competing, and collaborating (Yufenyuy, 2018).  I will also educate my colleagues on anger-management strategies, including how to appropriately react and manage anger in the work setting to control their emotional frustrations (Yufenyuy, 2018). Furthermore, I will train my colleagues on stress-management techniques to manage the stress that primarily results in conflicts and arguments.


Cullati, S., Bochatay, N., Maître, F., Laroche, T., Muller-Juge, V., Blondon, K. S., Junod Perron, N., Bajwa, N. M., Viet Vu, N., Kim, S., Savoldelli, G. L., Hudelson, P., Chopard, P., & Nendaz, M. R. (2019). When Team Conflicts Threaten Quality of Care: A Study of Health Care Professionals’ Experiences and Perceptions. Mayo Clinic proceedings. Innovations, quality & outcomes3(1), 43–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2018.11.003

Jacoby, S. R., & Scruth, E. A. (2017). Negligence and the nurse: The value of the code of ethics for nurses. Clinical Nurse Specialist31(4), 183-185. https://doi.org/10.1097/NUR.0000000000000301

Kadivar, M., Manookian, A., Asghari, F., Niknafs, N., Okazi, A., & Zarvani, A. (2017). Ethical and legal aspects of patient’s safety: a clinical case report. Journal of medical ethics and history of medicine10, 15.

Yufenyuy, C. S. (2018). The impact of interprofessional conflict on quality care–The nurse’s role’. Degree in Nursing, Arcada University of Applied Science, Helsinki.

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