This study provides a legal analysis of a hypothetical situation in nursing care. It recounts a scenario a nurse encounters and analyses it through the lens of Driscoll's reflective model. In light of the case study presented, the paper discusses the relevant nursing ethics and the results of taking various actions. It will serve as a barometer of your ethical sensitivity and capacity to grasp the ethical and legal intricacies of the situation. By engaging in this kind of self-reflection, nurses may better use theory in their work, generate new insights, and expand their knowledge of nursing in general.
When I started working as a nurse, I was responsible for the senior residents' mouth care at a facility on the city's outskirts. Also, I saw several of them constantly wearing dentures, leading to some stomatitis. Mr.J, an 85-year-old bedridden patient, suffered from dementia and stomatitis caused by his dentures. The infection of the oral mucosa beneath a denture is called denture-related stomatitis. This oral yeast infection is common in individuals who leave their dentures overnight. Inadequate denture care can contribute to the problem (Macig et al., 2014).
Mr.J’s mouth was red and irritated from stomatitis caused by his dentures. First and foremost, I had to take care of the patient's mouth, and I was told not to put his dentures back in his mouth after cleaning his mouth, as doing so was causing him a lot of pain and aggravation. Mr.J’s granddaughter came to see him in the evening and begged me to replace his denture immediately. I attempted to explain to her that Mr.J’ s suffering makes it necessary for him to stop using his dentures temporarily, but she insisted that I put them back in for another two or three hours. Even though it went against my better judgment as a nurse, I had to give him dentures. I should not have listened to her since patient care was my priority when I watched Mr.J grimace in discomfort after I placed the dentures.
The patient's granddaughter persuaded me to replace the dentures, and I did so in the scenario. However, now I see that my actions were unethical. In order to meet the requirements of the National Competency Standard for Registered Nurses, nurses must be able to provide excellent patient care while also adhering to the standards of professional ethics (Iacobucci et al., 2013). In light of the preceding, I was confronted with a moral conundrum. As part of my duty, I was expected to act ethically in all situations, not only those involving patient care. Even though I stuck to the principles of autonomy in ethical nursing practice, I failed to implement the concept of beneficence fully. Respecting a patient's or family's right to make medical decisions is something I learned about in nursing school (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013, pp. 48-50). The ethical concept of beneficence in nursing practice was breached when I had to listen to Mr.J’s granddaughter. When caring for patients, I was responsible for beneficence, which meant I should do what was best for them and protect them from harm (Butts & Rich, 2012, pp. 69-73). Advocating for a patient's health is crucial, yet I made a mistake when I replaced his dentures. Since Mr.J’s stomatitis was out of control, it was crucial to take off the dentures and only wear them for eating. However, the patients were negatively affected since I did nothing to change the situation.
My actions in this situation were not professional at all. All healthcare providers and students should follow the ethical rules of learning that I had been taught about as a nursing student (Goethals, De Casterlé, & Gastmans 2013). The provision of care that is both safe and compassionate and is delivered competently and safely is the primary ethical obligation of nurses. This meant I needed to be understanding and trustworthy with the patients, knowledgeable about how to best care for them, and willing to step in when necessary to prevent harm to the patients and uphold nursing's ethical standards (Ewashen, McInnis-Perry & Murphy 2013). For Mr.J, I made a huge mistake when I listened to his granddaughter and put his dentures back in. Dentures can irritate a patient's sore gums and other oral tissues, and I might have objected to this move or discussed its consequences had I done so. The medical complications of stomatitis may be unknown to his granddaughter. Therefore I felt it was my responsibility to educate her. Stomatitis causes ulceration of the mouth mucosa. Thus I could have argued with her. The patient's mouth is on fire, and they cannot get their meal down (Martori et al., 2014). Therefore, in this case, it was essential to replace the dentures to alleviate the patient's agony and ultimately bring about a full recovery. I took the patients' dentures out of their mouths without objecting to what I saw as a potentially dangerous move.
A nurse's ethical duties also include helping patients improve their health and quality of life to the fullest extent feasible (Grace, 2013, pp. 25-32). In addition, I was responsible for working with the nurse and other stakeholders to improve patients' health outcomes. In addition, I was tasked with encouraging and valuing data-driven decision-making in my daily work. While replacing Mr.J’ s denture, I saw that he turned his head, indicating that he did not want to do so and that the denture had caused considerable discomfort to his irritated oral mucosa. I violated the nursing as mentioned above ethics by inserting Mr.J’ s dentures without first obtaining his consent.
As a nurse, it was my duty to ensure that my patients were treated with respect and that their rights were upheld at all times (Masters, 2015, pp. 353-355). Caregiving for Mr.J taught me that his family did not care to get his input on significant decisions like replacing his teeth; his granddaughter insisted on doing it without consulting him. As a nurse, though, my duty was to stand by Mr.J and protect dishonour and respectability (Hamric et al., 2013). I should have stepped in to improve Mr.J’ s health when others did not respect his dignity as a patient. Promoting nursing practice that aligns with health care legislation is a primary goal of the National Competency Standard of Registered Nurses. For Mr.J, I had to consider the potential consequences of my nursing actions and behave following accepted standards of nursing practice Huppert, 2014). I have to take responsibility for preventing patient damage and intervening when necessary. I should have prepared Mr.J with backup plans for improved health outcomes if any action jeopardized the best possible treatment. By placing Mr.J’ s dentures back in his mouth, I violated the ethical principle of not harm by violating the patient's dignity. My therapy partnership with Mr.J. suffered as a result as well.
This blunder in my nursing profession taught me a great deal. Ethical ideals of accountability and making ethical efforts to achieve fairness for everyone should have been first in my thoughts Pikes et al., 2014). In Mr.J’ s situation, I should have ignored his granddaughter's advice and told her emphatically that she was wrong. If I could go back in time, I would tell him that he had to stop wearing dentures until the swelling and soreness disappeared. The ideals outlined in the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses needed to be upheld in my professional life, and I had to ensure that all nursing standards were up to par to ensure that my work was always ethical. If I wanted to prevent any potential conflicts with the ethical principles of nursing, I had to ensure I was always aware of any acts that ran counter to these standards of practice Starch et al., 2013).
Thoughtfully considering the moral conundrum posed by Mr.J’s situation has taught me a great deal. After all, I have been through; I am even more determined to adhere to the nursing profession's ethical guidelines. I will do my best to follow the rules set out by nursing laws and to always act in the patient's best interest. I will stay vigilant to prevent patient damage caused by careless behaviour. After thoroughly examining, I shall carry out any necessary nursing interventions. My goals for the future are to promote patient rights and facilitate informed decision-making in nursing care through the use of nursing guidelines in professional practice (Huppert, 2014, pp. 250-257). As a nurse, I want to keep up with the latest research in my industry, read professional journals, and study the standards of practice to ensure that I am always competent in my work.
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