Legal/Ethical Issues

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Legal/Ethical Issues

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The role and relevance of ethics in nursing practice is undeniable when considered against the backdrop of the diverse healthcare settings in which care has to be provided. It is because of the same reason that the development and implementation of regulatory framework has become common in order to ensure that ethical guidelines are clear and present at all times. In addition, decision making in nursing tends to have multilateral implications, making adherence to ethical consideration all the more imperative. It is essential for ethical guidelines to influence nursing practices so that the rights values and beliefs form the rationale behind the actions and decisions taken by nurses.

Story of Josie King

Josie King was at the age of 18 months and was brought to the hospital by the reason of burn. She was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), where she was being take care. Her health was recovering with a satisfactory pace and deemed to discharge her within a day or two. Just prior to two days of her discharge, Josie King died by reason of severe dehydration and misuse of narcotics. Her mother, Sorrell King, was paying attention on her for every day and night. She noticed that there was something not fine with her daughter, Josie. She called on-duty nurse to check her daughter but the nurses reassured her that there was nothing wrong with Josie and she was quite fine. Sorrel noticed that Josie was looked like being thirsty all the time and eagerly looking for some wetness from every resource that could be available. She had a desire to give some water to Josie but was informed not to do that. She put back to the professionals. And the little girl passed away because of dehydration. There seem some careless errors of human being. Along with intense grief and overwhelming sorrow, here comes quite strong feeling of aggression.


The Code gives advice when the situation creates a problem of ethics and there is no ready answer. We must think for able to take an appropriate decision. For example, the administrative nurse making a decision on the integration of aid in a situation, clinical data must take into account the reduction of resources, skills and abilities of existing staff and most importance that takes the client's autonomy. Statement of responsibilities guide the nurse in this situation relates to the value of Responsibility: "Whether working in clinical, administration, research or training, nurses responsible for professional ensure the quality of care for people in the profession. This responsibility may vary, but it always has to end safe nursing care, quality and consistent with ethics" (Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, 2007b).

The code is less imperative in cases of ethical distress when nurses feel compromised ethically and where she feels the culpability and anxiety. This situation can occur when the functions categories of personnel are changed and nursing are provided by nursing staff whose skills are another level. The number of nurses is reduced for each ...
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