1.6 Legal Considerations & Ethics – Nursing Fundamentals (2023)

Open Resources for Nursing (Open RN)

Legal Considerations

As discussed earlier in this chapter, nurses can be reprimanded or have their licenses revoked for not appropriately following the Nurse Practice Act in the state they are practicing. Nurses can also be held legally liable for negligence, malpractice, or breach of patient confidentiality when providing patient care.

Negligence and Malpractice

is a “general term that denotes conduct lacking in due care, carelessness, and a deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in a particular set of circumstances.”[1] is a more specific term that looks at a standard of care, as well as the professional status of the caregiver.” [2]

To prove negligence or malpractice, the following elements must be established in a court of law:

  • Duty owed the patient
  • Breach of duty owed the patient
  • Foreseeability
  • Causation
  • Injury
  • Damages[3]

To avoid being sued for negligence or malpractice, it is essential for nurses and nursing students to follow the scope and standards of practice care set forth by their state’s Nurse Practice Act; the American Nurses Association; and employer policies, procedures, and protocols to avoid the risk of losing their nursing license. Examples of nurses breach of duty that can be viewed as negligence include:[4]

  • Failure to Assess: Nurses should assess for all potential nursing problems/diagnoses, not just those directly affected by the medical disease. For example, all patients should be assessed for fall risk and appropriate fall precautions implemented.
  • Insufficient monitoring: Some conditions require frequent monitoring by the nurse, such as risk for falls, suicide risk, confusion, and self-injury.
  • Failure to Communicate:
    • Lack of documentation: A basic rule of thumb in a court of law is that if an assessment or action was not documented, it is considered not done. Nurses must document all assessments and interventions, in addition to the specific type of patient documentation called a nursing care plan.
    • Lack of provider notification: Changes in patient condition should be urgently communicated to the health care provider based on patient status. Documentation of provider notification should include the date, time, and person notified and follow-up actions taken by the nurse.
  • Failure to Follow Protocols: Agencies and states have rules for reporting certain behaviors or concerns. For example, a nurse is required to report suspicion of patient, child, or elder abuse based on data gathered during an assessment.

Patient Confidentiality

In addition to negligence and malpractice, patient confidentiality is a major legal consideration for nurses and nursing students. is the right of an individual to have personal, identifiable medical information, referred to as protected health information (PHI), kept private. This right is protected by federal regulations called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA was enacted in 1996 and was prompted by the need to ensure privacy and protection of personal health records and data in an environment of electronic medical records and third-party insurance payers. There are two main sections of HIPAA law, the Privacy Rule and the Security Rule. The Privacy Rule addresses the use and disclosure of individuals’ health information. The Security Rule sets national standards for protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronically protected health information. HIPAA regulations extend beyond medical records and apply to patient information shared with others. Therefore, all types of patient information should only be shared with health care team members who are actively providing care to them.

How do HIPAA regulations affect you as a student nurse? You are required to adhere to HIPAA guidelines from the moment you begin to provide patient care. Nursing students may be disciplined or expelled by their nursing program for violating HIPAA. Nurses who violate HIPAA rules may be fired from their jobs or face lawsuits. See the following box for common types of HIPAA violations and ways to avoid them.

Common HIPAA Violations and Ways to Avoid Them[5]

  1. Gossiping in the hallways or otherwise talking about patients where other people can hear you. It is understandable that you will be excited about what is happening when you begin working with patients and your desire to discuss interesting things that occur. As a student, you will be able to discuss patient care in a confidential manner behind closed doors with your instructor. However, as a health care professional, do not talk about patients in the hallways, elevator, breakroom, or with others who are not directly involved with that patient’s care because it is too easy for others to overhear what you are saying.
  2. Mishandling medical records or leaving medical records unsecured. You can breach HIPAA rules by leaving your computer unlocked for anyone to access or by leaving written patient charts in unsecured locations. You should never share your password with anyone else. Make sure that computers are always locked with a password when you step away from them and paper charts are closed and secured in an area where unauthorized people don’t have easy access to them. NEVER take records from a facility or include a patient’s name on paperwork that leaves the facility.
  3. Illegally or unauthorized accessing of patient files. If someone you know, like a neighbor, coworker, or family member is admitted to the unit you are working on, do not access their medical record unless you are directly caring for them. Facilities have the capability of tracing everything you access within the electronic medical record and holding you accountable. This rule holds true for employees who previously cared for a patient as a student; once your shift is over as a student, you should no longer access that patient’s medical records.
  4. Sharing information with unauthorized people. Anytime you share medical information with anyone but the patient themselves, you must have written permission to do so. For instance, if a husband comes to you and wants to know his spouse’s lab results, you must have permission from his spouse before you can share that information with him. Just confirming or denying that a patient has been admitted to a unit or agency can be considered a breach of confidentiality.
  5. Information can generally be shared with the parents of children until they turn 18, although there are exceptions to this rule if the minor child seeks birth control, an abortion, or becomes pregnant. After a child turns 18, information can no longer be shared with the parent unless written permission is provided, even if the minor is living at home and/or the parents are paying for their insurance or health care. As a general rule, any time you are asked for patient information, check first to see if the patient has granted permission.
  6. Texting or e-mailing patient information on an unencrypted device. Only use properly encrypted devices that have been approved by your health care facility for e-mailing or faxing protected patient information. Also, ensure that the information is being sent to the correct person, address, or phone number.
  7. Sharing information on social media. Never post anything on social media that has anything to do with your patients, the facility where you are working or have clinical, or even how your day went at the agency. Nurses and other professionals have been fired for violating HIPAA rules on social media.[6],[7],[8]
(Video) Nursing Profession and Ethics - Fundamentals of Nursing - Principles | @LevelUpRN

Social Media Guidelines

Nursing students, nurses, and other health care team members must use extreme caution when posting to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media sites. Information related to patients, patient care, and/or health care agencies should never be posted on social media; health care team members who violate this guideline can lose their jobs and may face legal action and students can be disciplined or expelled from their nursing program. Be aware that even if you think you are posting in a private group, the information can become public.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has established the following principles for nurses using social media:[9]

  • Nurses must not transmit or place online individually identifiable patient information.
  • Nurses must observe ethically prescribed professional patient-nurse boundaries.
  • Nurses should understand that patients, colleagues, organizations, and employers may view postings.
  • Nurses should take advantage of privacy settings and seek to separate personal and professional information online.
  • Nurses should bring content that could harm a patient’s privacy, rights, or welfare to the attention of appropriate authorities.
  • Nurses should participate in developing organizational policies governing online conduct.

In addition to these principles, the ANA has also provided these tips for nurses and nursing students using social media:[10]

  • Remember that standards of professionalism are the same online as in any other circumstance.
  • Do not share or post information or photos gained through the nurse-patient relationship.
  • Maintain professional boundaries in the use of electronic media. Online contact with patients blurs this boundary.
  • Do not make disparaging remarks about patients, employers, or coworkers, even if they are not identified.
  • Do not take photos or videos of patients on personal devices, including cell phones.
  • Promptly report a breach of confidentiality or privacy.

Read more about the ANA’s Social Media Principles.

View the Social Media Guidelines for Nurses video from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) on using social media responsibly.

Code of Ethics

In addition to legal considerations, there are also several ethical guidelines for nursing care.

(Video) Legal Issues and Ethics concepts to know for NCLEX, HESI and ATI exams

There is a difference between morality, ethical principles, and a . refers to “personal values, character, or conduct of individuals within communities and societies.”[11] An ethical principle is a general guide, basic truth, or assumption that can be used with clinical judgment to determine a course of action. Four common ethical principles are beneficence (do good), nonmaleficence (do no harm), autonomy (control by the individual), and justice (fairness). A code of ethics is set for a profession and makes their primary obligations, values, and ideals explicit.

The American Nursing Association (ANA) guides nursing practice with the Code of Ethics for Nurses.[12] This code provides a framework for ethical nursing care and a guide for decision-making. The Code of Ethics for Nurses serves the following purposes:

  • It is a succinct statement of the ethical values, obligations, duties, and professional ideals of nurses individually and collectively.
  • It is the profession’s nonnegotiable ethical standard.
  • It is an expression of nursing’s own understanding of its commitment to society.[13]

The ANA Code of Ethics contains nine provisions. See a brief description of each provision in the following box.

Provisions of the ANA Code of Ethics[14]

The nine provisions of the ANA Code of Ethics are briefly described below. The full code is available to read for free at Nursingworld.org.

Provision 1: The nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person.

Provision 2: The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, community, or population.

Provision 3: The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient.

(Video) Ethical Principles in Nursing | NCLEX Study Tips | NurseInTheMaking

Provision 4: The nurse has authority, accountability, and responsibility for nursing practice; makes decisions; and takes action consistent with the obligation to promote health and to provide optimal care.

Provision 5: The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to promote health and safety, preserve wholeness of character and integrity, maintain competence, and continue personal and professional growth.

Provision 6: The nurse, through individual and collective effort, establishes, maintains, and improves the ethical environment of the work setting and conditions of employment that are conducive to safe, quality health care.

Provision 7: The nurse, in all roles and settings, advances the profession through research and scholarly inquiry, professional standards development, and the generation of both nursing and health policy.

Provision 8: The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities.

Provision 9: The profession of nursing, collectively through its professional organizations, must articulate nursing values, maintain the integrity of the profession, and integrate principles of social justice into nursing and health policy.

The ANA Center for Ethics and Human Rights

In addition to publishing the Code of Ethics, the ANA Center for Ethics and Human Rights was established to help nurses navigate ethical and value conflicts and life-and-death decisions, many of which are common to everyday practice.

Read more information about the ANA Center for Ethics and Human Rights.

(Video) Fundamentals Of Nursing For LPN / LVN: Chapter 3 - Legal and Ethical Aspects of Nursing

Check your knowledge with the following questions:

  1. Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. (n.d.). Negligence and malpractice. https://health.mo.gov/living/lpha/phnursing/negligence.php#:~:text=Negligence%20is%3A,a%20particular%20set%20of%20circumstances.
  2. Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. (n.d.). Negligence and malpractice. https://health.mo.gov/living/lpha/phnursing/negligence.php#:~:text=Negligence%20is%3A,a%20particular%20set%20of%20circumstances.
  3. Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. (n.d.). Negligence and malpractice. https://health.mo.gov/living/lpha/phnursing/negligence.php#:~:text=Negligence%20is%3A,a%20particular%20set%20of%20circumstances.
  4. Vera, M. (2020). Nursing care plan (NCP): Ultimate guide and database. https://nurseslabs.com/nursing-care-plans/#:~:text=Collaborative%20interventions%20are%20actions%20that,to%20gain%20their%20professional%20viewpoint.
  5. Patterson, A. (2018, July 3). Most common HIPAA violations with examples. Inspired eLearning. https://inspiredelearning.com/blog/hipaa-violation-examples/
  6. Karimi, H., & Masoudi Alavi, N. (2015). Florence Nightingale: The mother of nursing. Nursing and Midwifery Studies, 4(2), e29475. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4557413/
  7. American Nurses Association. (n.d.). About ANA. https://www.nursingworld.org/ana/about-ana/
  8. American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Scope of practice. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/scope-of-practice/
  9. American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Social media. https://www.nursingworld.org/social/
  10. American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Social media. https://www.nursingworld.org/social/
  11. American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. American Nurses Association. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/ethics/code-of-ethics-for-nurses/coe-view-only/
  12. American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. American Nurses Association. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/ethics/code-of-ethics-for-nurses/coe-view-only/
  13. American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. American Nurses Association. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/ethics/code-of-ethics-for-nurses/coe-view-only/
  14. American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. American Nurses Association. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/ethics/code-of-ethics-for-nurses/coe-view-only/


1.6 Legal Considerations & Ethics – Nursing Fundamentals? ›

Nurses are advocates for patients and must find a balance while delivering patient care. There are four main principles of ethics: autonomy, beneficence, justice, and non-maleficence. Each patient has the right to make their own decisions based on their own beliefs and values.[4].

What are the legal ethical considerations of a nurse? ›

Nurses are advocates for patients and must find a balance while delivering patient care. There are four main principles of ethics: autonomy, beneficence, justice, and non-maleficence. Each patient has the right to make their own decisions based on their own beliefs and values.[4].

What are legal and ethical considerations? ›

Legality means an act according to the law, while ethics is about right and wrong behaviour. This means that some actions might be legal but, in some people's opinion, not ethical. Legality has its basis in ethics, while ethics has its basis in morals.

What are the 7 ethical consideration in nursing? ›

The ethical principles that nurses must adhere to are the principles of justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence, accountability, fidelity, autonomy, and veracity.

What are the legal considerations in nursing documentation? ›

The documentation needs to be concise, legible, and clear. There must be accurate information about the actions taken, assessments, treatment outcomes, complications, risks, reassessment processes in treatments, and changes in the treatment.

What are the legal and ethical considerations for healthcare professionals? ›

Some examples of common medical ethical issues include:
  • Patient Privacy and Confidentiality. The protection of private patient information is one of the most important ethical and legal issues in the field of healthcare. ...
  • Transmission of Diseases. ...
  • Relationships. ...
  • End-of-Life Issues.
Sep 27, 2022

What are examples of ethical considerations? ›

Ethical considerations in research are a set of principles that guide your research designs and practices. These principles include voluntary participation, informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality, potential for harm, and results communication.

What is an example of ethical and legal consideration? ›

A classic example is stealing to feed your family. Stealing is legally and ethically wrong, but if your family is starving it might be morally justified (Noel-Weiss et al., 2012).

What are the three legal considerations? ›

There are usually three legal considerations in business and accounting: (1) Sources of Law; (2) Contracts and (3) Consumer Protection.

What is an example of ethics and legal? ›

Legality means an act is in accordance with the law. Ethics is about concepts of right and wrong behaviour. Some actions may be legal but in some people's opinion not ethical. For example, testing medicines on animals is legal in many countries but some people believe it is not ethical.

What are the 5 nursing considerations? ›

These are assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

What are examples of nursing ethics? ›

Nurses have an obligation not to inflict harm and not to allow others to inflict harm. They must also promote good actions on behalf of their patients. Examples of nonmaleficence are always being truthful to patients and never allowing one patient to be harmed for the benefit of another.

What are the five ethical issues in nursing? ›

The 5 Current Ethical Issues in Nursing
  • Informed Consent.
  • Protecting Patient Privacy and Confidentiality.
  • Shared Patient Decision-Making.
  • Addressing Advanced Care Planning.
  • Inadequate resources and staffing.
Sep 8, 2021

What are nursing legal responsibilities? ›

Nurses are legally mandated to report abuse, neglect, gunshot wounds, dog bites, some communicable diseases and any unsafe and/or illegal practices done by another health care provider. Informed Consent and Refusals of Treatment which was fully detailed previously.

What are the legal responsibilities nurse's role in informed consent? ›

Participating in Obtaining Informed Consent

The nurse is responsible and accountable for the verification of and witnessing that the patient or the legal representative has signed the consent document in their presence and that the patient, or the legal representative, is of legal age and competent to provide consent.

What are the three sources for legal guidelines for nurses? ›

There are basically three sources of law in the United States: statutory law, administrative law and common law. 1. Statutory law is written law set down by a legislature. These laws may originate with national, state, or local municipalities.

Why are ethical and legal considerations important for healthcare? ›

Everybody hopes their doctors are aware of current laws and ethical concerns in healthcare. After all, without these guidelines, medical malpractice would go unpunished, and more importantly, lives would be lost.

What is legal but not ethical examples in healthcare? ›

Legal and ethical principles are closely associated, although ethical standards characteristically exceed legal obligations. For example, if a physician refuses to treat a patient because the patient cannot pay for the treatment, the physician's behavior is legal but may be deemed unethical.

What does legal and ethical issues mean? ›

Ethical issues are not governed by a set of rules and thereby are not punishable by law. Legal issues have a set of rules on which they are based and are punishable by law if those rules are not adhered by.

Why are ethical considerations important? ›

It is important to adhere to ethical principles in order to protect the dignity, rights and welfare of research participants. As such, all research involving human beings should be reviewed by an ethics committee to ensure that the appropriate ethical standards are being upheld.

How many ethical considerations are there? ›

There are six broad ethical areas that need to be considered in your research. In this chapter, we will discuss voluntary participation, informed consent, confidentiality and anonymity, the potential for harm, communi- cating the results, and more specific ethical issues.

What are legal considerations? ›

Legal consideration refers to the exchange of two or more things of value in a legally binding contract. Typically, money or currency is exchanged for some type of goods or services in these contracts. In order for any contract to be valid, it must have consideration.

Which of the following is an example of legal consideration? ›

The correct answer is a. A benefit to the promisor but not a detriment to the promisee.

What are the legal considerations in healthcare? ›

The five major areas for legal concerns include negligence or malpractice, defamation, patient confidentiality, battery, and mandatory reporting.

What are the four 4 main categories of ethical and legal issue? ›

The most widely known is the one introduced by Beauchamp and Childress. This framework approaches ethical issues in the context of four moral principles: respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice (see table 1).

What are the 3 most important legal influences? ›

The laws from both the federal and state legal systems stem from three pri- mary sources: the Constitution, statutes, and common law.

What are three ethical and legal responsibilities? ›

If you're working with young people, you have ethical responsibilities and legal obligations. These include a duty of care, protecting a young person's privacy and confidentiality, and reporting abuse (if you belong to a profession that's required by law to do this).

What is the difference between legal and ethical issues in healthcare? ›

Legal actions are applicable to any individual present within a state or country that implements that particular set of laws. On the other hand, ethical rights are considered a voluntary and personal act of an individual based on their perception of right and wrong.

What is ethics in legal? ›

Ethics are the moral principles that govern a person's behaviour. For legal practitioners, ethics take on an added level of importance. Alongside rules of professional conduct and the common law, ethical values act as a guide to proper behaviour for lawyers.

What are the 4 fundamentals of nursing? ›

Nursing has four basic concepts, called metaparadigms. You can call this conceptual framework of nursing theories in general since a metaparadigm consists of a group of related concepts. The four metaparadigms of nursing are person or client, environment, health, and nursing.

What are the 4 C's of nursing? ›

The four primary care (PC) core functions (the '4Cs', ie, first contact, comprehensiveness, coordination and continuity) are essential for good quality primary healthcare and their achievement leads to lower costs, less inequality and better population health.

What are the 4 fundamentals of knowing nursing? ›

The four ways of knowing are empirics—the science of nursing, esthetics—the art of nursing, the component of personal knowledge in nursing, and ethics—the component of moral knowledge in nursing.

What is an example of ethics in healthcare? ›

Ethical decision-making in healthcare.

For example, a patient may refuse care due to cultural/religious views, or may want an unnecessary treatment which may not be in his or her best interests; euthanasia is another example of a provider's sense of morals conflicting with his or her ethical obligations.

What are the 5 main reasons why nurses face with ethical dilemmas in nursing? ›

The following are five main reasons why nurses face ethical dilemmas in nursing.
  • Patients or their loved ones must make life or death decisions.
  • The patient refuses treatment.
  • Nursing assignments may contradict cultural or religious beliefs.
  • Nursing peers demonstrate incompetence.
  • Inadequate staffing.

Why is ethics important in nursing? ›

The nursing code of ethics helps caregivers consider patient needs from several viewpoints and maintain a safe recovery environment. Ethical guidelines remind caregivers to treat all people equitably and individually, while protecting the privacy rights of patients in ways that may not seem overtly obvious.

What are the three main ethical issues? ›

What are the most common ethical issues? The most commonly experienced ethical issues include discrimination, harassment, unethical accounting, technological abuse, data privacy, health and safety, and favoritism and nepotism.

What are the 8 ethical issues related to healthcare? ›

The major 10 ethical issues, as perceived by the participants in order of their importance, were: (1) Patients' Rights, (2) Equity of resources, (3) Confidentiality of the patients, (4) Patient Safety, (5) Conflict of Interests, (6) Ethics of privatization, (7) Informed Consent, (8) Dealing with the opposite sex, (9) ...

What are some examples of legal responsibilities? ›

Legal responsibility means the rights and responsibilities to determine and control various matters affecting a child's welfare and upbringing, other than routine daily care and control of the child. These matters include but are not limited to education, medical and dental care, religion and travel arrangements.

What is an example of common law in nursing? ›

Examples of common law include informed consent, the patient's right to refuse treatment, negligence, and malpractice. Statutory law is either civil or criminal.

What are the legal responsibilities of a nurse quizlet? ›

Nurses are accountable for protecting the rights of clients. Examples include informed consent, refusal of treatment, advance directives, confidentiality, and information security. Clients' rights are legal privileges or powers clients have when they receive health care services.

What is the RN's legal and ethical responsibility regarding delegation? ›

RNs within the healthcare team are accountable for determining the level of supervision needed and for supervising those to whom they have delegated tasks. RNs are accountable for the decision to delegate and for the adequacy of nursing care provided to the healthcare consumer.

What are the ethical issues with informed consent in nursing? ›

Ethical challenges to obtaining informed consent include patients' poor awareness of their rights, a failure to provide adequate information to patients, absence of consideration of patients' educational level, an unclear definition of who is responsible for obtaining informed consent from the patients, time ...

What ethical principle is informed consent? ›

Informed consent is one of the founding principles of research ethics. Its intent is that human participants can enter research freely (voluntarily) with full information about what it means for them to take part, and that they give consent before they enter the research.

What are five examples of laws and regulations that protect nurses? ›

If you have a regulatory matter or any other issue of healthcare law, reach out to a knowledgeable California healthcare law attorney for advice and representation.
  • HIPAA. ...
  • The HITECH Act. ...
  • EMTALA. ...
  • Anti-Kickback and Stark Laws. ...
  • PSQIA. ...
  • Fraud and Abuse Laws. ...
  • Protect your practice, your license, and your livelihood.
Jun 12, 2020

What are nursing ethical principles? ›

Nursing ethical principles can be broadly categorized into four major ethical nursing principles:
  • Autonomy: The right to self-determination. ...
  • Beneficence: The promotion of good. ...
  • Justice: Fairness or an equal distribution of benefits. ...
  • Nonmaleficence: The avoidance or minimization of harm.

What are the three legal protections provided by Hipaa? ›

Identify and protect against reasonably anticipated threats to the security or integrity of the information; Protect against reasonably anticipated, impermissible uses or disclosures; and. Ensure compliance by their workforce.

What is the difference between legal responsibilities and ethical concerns in nursing practice? ›

The major difference between these professional expectations being legal, as opposed to ethical, is that from a legal perspective if these expectations are breached in some way there will usually be some form of sanction or adverse consequence for the healthcare professional concerned.

How do Hipaa regulations relate to the ethical and professional standards of nursing? ›

Confidentiality and Privacy with HIPAA in Nursing

Nurses and health care professionals are both legally and ethically required to protect clients' privacy and maintain the confidentiality of their medical information. These privacy rules are huge on the NCLEX and are always tested on exams.

What is an ethical consideration? ›

Introduction. Ethical considerations are essentially about avoiding any harm to children and young people as a result of their participation in your organisation's decision making.

What is an example of ethical standards in nursing? ›

Ethical Principles in Nursing

The nurses do not influence the patient's choice. Examples of nurses demonstrating this include obtaining informed consent from the patient for treatment, accepting the situation when a patient refuses a medication, and maintaining confidentiality.

Why are legal and ethical issues important in healthcare? ›

Everybody hopes their doctors are aware of current laws and ethical concerns in healthcare. After all, without these guidelines, medical malpractice would go unpunished, and more importantly, lives would be lost.

Why is it important to know your legal and ethical responsibilities in healthcare? ›

Laws govern every facet of our lives. Health care workers have specific legal responsibilities that regulate their particular profession. Adhering to legal regulations is vital for the health care worker's own protection, the protection of their employer, and more importantly, the safety and well-being of the patient.

Why is it important to follow ethical guidelines in nursing? ›

The nursing code of ethics helps caregivers consider patient needs from several viewpoints and maintain a safe recovery environment. Ethical guidelines remind caregivers to treat all people equitably and individually, while protecting the privacy rights of patients in ways that may not seem overtly obvious.

What are the ethical standards behind HIPAA law? ›

These four ethical principles are: Autonomy: the right of individuals to make their own choices. Beneficence: the principle of acting with the best interests of the other person (eg, patient) in mind. Nonmaleficence: at the crux of the Hippocratic Oath means “do no harm.”

Is HIPAA legal or ethical? ›

Although not all aspects of HIPAA are grounded in ethical practices, the overall thrust of the HIPAA regulations is consistent with the ethical practice of medicine and surgery.

What is ethical consideration and why is it important? ›

an accumulation of values and principles that address questions of what is good or bad in human affairs. Ethics searches for reasons for acting or refraining from acting; for approving or not approving conduct; for believing or denying something about virtuous or vicious conduct or good or evil rules.

What are the three principles of ethical consideration? ›

Three basic principles, among those generally accepted in our cultural tradition, are particularly relevant to the ethics of research involving human subjects: the principles of respect of persons, beneficence and justice.

What is an example of ethical standards and legal standards? ›

Ethical Standards

They are based on human principles of right and wrong. For example, when you are trying to park your car in a parking lot and there is only one parking spot left, the only legal standard you have to follow is that of not going over the speed limit or crashing into another car.

What does ethics mean in nursing? ›

Abstract. Nursing ethics is the applied discipline that addresses the moral features of nursing practice. It is a subset of health care ethics or bioethics. Three dimensions of nursing ethics interrelate as they prescribe ethical norms, describe ethical aspects of nursing, and generate ethical guidance.


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