It is imperative for a nurse to have enough familiarity with specific legal rules and obligations that surround a particular nursing activity. In this respect, the knowing of specific information requires the observance of HIPAA Laws about Privacy Rules (Department of Health and Human Services, n. d.). At the same time, nurses are often confronting ethical problems that create a number of challenges for them in legal terms. The case in interest shows that Lena has encountered an ethical dilemma as well because, on the one hand, she needs to strictly adhere to the established legal rules and, on the other hand, she is greatly concerned with her sister’s health and safety.
As it can be presented above, there are some legal liabilities that Lena should follow because law is the fundamental tenet of a health care profession. According to Schwartz et al. (n. d.), a nurse professional should base all his/her decisions on established laws and regulations, irrespective of any ethical concerns. More importantly, the doctors insist on the idea that law and ethics are completely different categories, separated entities that should not interact with each other.
Ethical concerns should not hamper law enactment (Schwartz et al., n. d.). In this respect, in order to comply with legal standards and ethical concerns, Lena should negotiate with the patient and warn him about the consequences of his relationships. She should explain the major threats his disease can constitute as well as what responsibilities he takes for the consequences. Such a position will help the nurse to avoid legal liability and to solve her ethical dilemma.
The proposed solution will contradict neither standards of nursing practice because Lena will manage to keep the information private nor the privacy rules established by HIPPA laws (American Nursing Association, 2011; Department of Health and Human Services, n. d.). Lena will also manage to adhere to existing rules of due legal conduct and avoid putting her nursing license at risk. If Lena decides on talking with her sister for the purpose to protect her, she will face serious consequences in terms of the patient’s safety and welfare. Each health care professional should realize that legal rules and regulations are creating for protecting both the patient’s welfare and nurses’ reputation and safety, particularly when it comes to information privacy and nursing practice.
Alternatively, negligence and malpractice as well as reluctance to understand the scope of established rules can lead to very serious and dangerous outcomes that can even cost a human life. One of the examples of nurse’s malpractice and negligence is presented in case with intravenous therapy (Rosenthal, 2004, p. 56). The patient died because of nurses’ ignorance and negligence as well as unawareness of these factors. It also demonstrates and educates nurses on the preventive measures and actions they should take in critical situations.
As it has been mentioned previously, nurse practice is closely associated with legal and ethical issues. What is more important is that some regulations and rules involve bioethics in terms of patient’s autonomy, beneficence, and justice (Loquist, 2004, p. 102). If Lena tells her sister about her boyfriend’s disease without her disease, she will violate all the issues of patient’s autonomy and safety and will put her license and reputation at risk. But if Lena’ tries to talk to the patient and explain him all threat of his diagnose, she will be able to meet all ethical concerns as well as all follow all Standards and Scope of Nursing Practice and health care decision making.
American Nursing Association. (2011). Scope and Standards of Practice. Web.
Department of Health and Human Services. (n. d.) The Privacy Rule. Web.
Loquist, R. S. (2004). Government Regulation: Parallel and Powerful. in Health Policy and Politics: A Nurse’s Guide. US: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Rosenthal, K. (2004). Where did this patient’s I.V. therapy go awry? Nursing, 34(5), pp. 56–57.
Schwartz, J., Ramsey, G., Mokwunye, N., and Rushton C. (n. d.). Legal and Ethical Aspects of Healthcare Delivery. Web.