Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare

Working in the healthcare field is worthwhile but has challenges as well. Due to the complexity of healthcare issues, there is a need to have a decisive option guided by work morals. Ethics help professionals to have a guideline on what to do and how to have the task done. Through ethics, legal matters such as court issues are established to aid in conflicting or contradicting situations (Baylis, 2017). The purpose of this paper is to discuss how nurses can prevent themselves from the risk of malpractice.

Healthcare malpractice occurs when a nurse or any other healthcare provider causes harm and injury to a patient due to negligence in work procedures or omission of an important step during the line of work. To protect against the risk of malpractice, nurses need to understand the health information exchange that patients receive from a doctor (Urbaniak, 2017). Nursing practitioner should learn modern software applications in medical records because there is emergence of digital health records.

It will equip them with skills to deal with essential matters in healthcare. The liability, in this case, would be the cyber theft of information about a patient for any unauthorized person who accesses the records (Baylis, 2017). A nurse needs to learn about the review of information by preventing any information leakage without the patient’s consent.

Another way in which a nurse can avoid malpractice during work is by documenting medical information thoroughly. The human brain cannot process comprehensive data and information for a long time. Due to the number of patients that hospitals handle, it is possible to forget an important requirement for the patient’s welfare. For example, if a nurse fails to document the patients who require additional oxygen in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, it can lead the omitted patient to lose their life (Myers, 2020). Proper recording and accurate documentation ensure effective communication because nurses can receive reminders to attend to all the doctors’ duties in the healthcare institutions (Healey, 2016). Therefore, it is important to review the existing documentation and compare it with the workstation’s demands.

Additionally, being available to the patient is important in preventing a possible liability in healthcare. When a nurse is present, that enables easy monitoring of the progress hence they may request the doctor’s attention if the patient is deteriorating health-wise. Nurses’ availability in the patient wards is required because a productive relationship can be achieved by professionally attending to the demands that patients have (Healey, 2016). Other important measures reviewing of nursing job requirements, getting involved in training for acquisition of new working formulas, specializing in a specific task instead of a wide range of tasks, and working according to nursing standards in healthcare provision.

The current healthcare trends have seen nurses obtain professional liability covers, which insures the nursing practitioners against risks such as accidents and damages while working. It is important for healthcare workers to consider maintaining the required levels of clinical competencies to reduce the liability risks in nursing duties (Healey, 2016). Healthcare providers can present their thoughts on what extra tasks can be done or omitted for effective patient care in hospitals and other healthcare institutions through proper communication. Nurses have to practice their ethical conduct while working as it will serve as a foundation for insights during the working environment. If all medical practitioners follow the ethics in workplace, there would be few complaints on the quality of services to patients.


Baylis, F. (2017). Health care ethics in Canada (3rd ed.). Nelson Education.

Healey, F. (2016). Preventing falls in hospitals. BMJ, 3(5), 3-11. Web.

Myers, L. (2020). Toward preventing medical malpractice claims related to chest procedures. Annals of The American Thoracic Society, 17(6), 776-779. Web.

Urbaniak, M. (2017). The legal basis for the functioning of teaching hospitals in Poland: selected issues. Journal of Medical Science, 86(2), 167. Web.

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