Two nurses, Vicki, RN, and Cindy, RN, say they were just trying to protect patients when they anonymously reported their concerns last November to the Department of Health and to the Joint commission. The RNs believed that the 140-bed hospital that they work for was not living up to ethical practice standards. The report given by the RN’s indicated Ms. Anderson, one of three quality review coordinators working for the quality department in the hospital, improperly encouraged clinical mangers to change patient safety data at the Sunny Valley Medical Center.

By encouraging the data changes to misrepresent what was truly happening, Ms. Anderson actions affected an important decision regarding a patient safety issue. Moreover, the county attorney’s office indicted Ms. Anderson on “misuse of official information,” a third-degree felony that carries potential penalties of 2-10 years’ in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Vicki and Cindy, both long-time nurses at the facility, were fired from their positions and were subsequently arrested last December, just five days past the 60-day window that could have been part of the defense to prove retaliation. The two nurses are free on bond of $5,000 each.

The Department of Health attorney sent a letter to the hospital attorneys stating that it is improper to criminally prosecute people for raising complaints with the board; that the complaints were confidential and not subject to subpoena; that the Department of Health is exempt from federal HIPAA law; and that, on the contrary, the board depends on reporting from healthcare professionals to carry out its duty of protecting the public from improper practitioners.

Please discuss ethical considerations in Vicki’s and Cindy’s behavior. Justify your answer.

Describe the various ethical, legal, and interpersonal conflicts that exist in this case.

Solution

Vicki and Cindy were following the ethical code of conduct put forward by the American Nurses’ Association (ANA) when they reported their concerns to the Health Department and The Joint Commission (TJC). These two nurses were following the principles of nonmaleficence and justice by reporting. Nonmaleficence is essentially “do no harm”. This priniciple was being violated by Ms. Anderson by changing data, which ultimately resulted in “an important decision regarding a patient safety issue” being affected adversely. Although it is not given what the safety issue was or the extent of harm to the patient, the nurses in the case had the duty to report to prevent patients from being harmed….Kindly click the purchase icon to purchase the full solution at $5

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