In order to make ethical decisions, health care providers may use various perspectives that include the ethics of care and the ethics of justice. The ethics of care implies an ethical approach in nursing that emphasizes the significance of the members’ interdependence, harmonious relationships, and involvement within a team for ethical decision making in any situation. In turn, the ethics of justice in nursing is an ethical perspective of efficient decision-making in a verifiable and impartial manner and on the basis of rules and universal principles. It goes without saying that both perspective aim to provide the most efficient health care and equitable treatment for all patients. As a matter of fact, different approaches applied by the members of one health care team traditionally lead to insufficient co-operation and conflicts. That is why it is essential to choose a dominant perspective to promote mutual understanding.
From a personal perspective, the described incident related to family nurse practice is the example of the inefficiency of the ethics of care in the primary care office that may lead to highly negative consequences for the patient’s health. It goes without saying that, as a competent medical assistant, Stephanie prioritized the patient’s welfare and provided her with a medicine independently to express her compassion. However, a medical assistant is not responsible for the delivery of medication under the name of a nurse practitioner, especially without his or her consent. In fact, Stephanie’s most considerable mistake is the absence of necessary information sharing concerning Mrs. Smith. In other words, she did not inform the nurse practitioner about her activities.
In turn, the nurse practitioner’s legal responsibilities include the monitoring of the medical assistants’ practices, however, control over employees could be insufficient due to their experience, excellent reputation, and professionalism. According to the results of the described case, mutual trust between the members of a health care and a lack of strict and well-defined rules frequently lead to negative outcomes. At the same time, the ethics of justice forces health care providers to make decisions on the basis of regulations and leave the patient’s request unanswered in his or her favor (Pozgar, 2020). That is why Mrs. Smith will not receive a refilled bottle of amoxicillin if her health condition does not require it.
In general, besides the administration of control over the performance of the primary care office and every employee’s practice, the medical director should determine the common approach of ethical decision-making for all nurse practitioners and medical assistants to avoid conflicts. In order to prevent any illegal behavior in the future, general rules and regulations should become mandatory. First of all, all activities related to medication should be properly recorded to avoid errors and misunderstandings.
To initiate positive changes in his or her practice, a competent nurse practitioner should consider the development of decision-making and critical thinking skills. In general, they help health care providers to analyze any challenging situation from the position of the ethics of care and the ethics of justice. The observation of rules may be frequently regarded as a more appropriate option for efficient health care delivery in comparison with an instant wish to satisfy the patient’s needs. The ability to delegate appropriately in supervisory roles is highly essential as well. Other clinical professionals should have a clear understanding of the algorithm of their actions in order to avoid potentially illegal behavior in the future.
Pozgar, G. D. (2020). Legal and ethical issues for health professionals (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.