A brief explanation of the issues and considerations at work in the scenarios. Explain the lesson(s) you see illustrated in this comparison and the principle(s) that you would identify to guide legal and ethical decision making in healthcare settings. From a leadership perspective, explain your recommendations for nurse executives on safeguards to avoid “incidents” like that portrayed in Part 1 and responses to ensure the outcome in Part 2. Support your post with Learning Resources or current literature.


In healthcare settings, legal and ethical decision-making is a crucial aspect that nurse executives need to consider. There are various issues and considerations at work in the given scenarios that highlight the importance of following principles to guide decision-making. This essay will explore the lessons illustrated in the comparison of the two scenarios and identify the principles that should guide legal and ethical decision-making in healthcare settings. Additionally, from a leadership perspective, recommendations will be provided for nurse executives on safeguards to avoid incidents like the one portrayed in Part 1 and responses to ensure a favorable outcome in Part 2.

Issues and Considerations

In the given scenarios, Part 1 portrays a situation where a nurse fails to administer medication to a patient, resulting in harm. This raises several issues and considerations. First, patient safety is compromised due to the error, highlighting the need for clear protocols and procedures to prevent such incidents. Second, ethical considerations come into play as the nurse has a duty of care towards the patient and failing to administer the medication breaches this duty. Third, legal implications may arise as the nurse may be held responsible for the harm caused. Fourth, communication breakdown between the nurse and the physician is evident, emphasizing the importance of effective inter-professional communication.

On the other hand, in Part 2, the nurse takes appropriate action by advocating for the patient and seeking clarification on a potential medication error. This scenario highlights the importance of ethical considerations, patient advocacy, and effective communication in healthcare settings. It also demonstrates the significance of a culture that encourages open dialogue and reporting of potential errors.

Lessons Illustrated

The comparison between the two scenarios provides several lessons. First, nurses should always prioritize patient safety and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to prevent harm. This includes following established protocols and procedures, double-checking medication orders, and seeking clarification when in doubt. Second, effective communication is crucial in healthcare settings to ensure accurate and timely information sharing. In the first scenario, the lack of communication led to the medication error, while in the second scenario, effective communication helped prevent a potential error. Third, healthcare professionals have an ethical duty to advocate for their patients and ensure their well-being. The nurse in Part 2 effectively fulfilled this duty by questioning the physician and seeking clarification on the medication order.

Principles to Guide Legal and Ethical Decision Making

In healthcare settings, legal and ethical decision-making should be guided by several principles. First, the principle of beneficence emphasizes the obligation to do good and promote the well-being of patients. This principle should guide healthcare professionals in prioritizing patient safety and taking actions that contribute to positive patient outcomes. In the given scenarios, the nurse failing to administer the medication in Part 1 goes against the principle of beneficence, as it resulted in harm to the patient.

Second, the principle of nonmaleficence highlights the importance of avoiding harm to patients. This principle should guide healthcare professionals in ensuring that their actions do not cause harm. In Part 1, the nurse’s failure to administer the medication clearly violates the principle of nonmaleficence.

Third, the principle of autonomy emphasizes respect for the patient’s right to make decisions about their own healthcare. This principle should be considered when seeking informed consent from patients and involving them in decision-making processes. In both scenarios, the patient’s autonomy is compromised as they did not receive the medication as prescribed.

Fourth, the principle of justice ensures fairness and equality in healthcare delivery. This principle should guide decision-making to ensure equitable distribution of resources and access to healthcare services. In the given scenarios, the principle of justice is not directly violated, but the failure to provide the prescribed medication raises concerns about fair treatment.

Fifth, the principle of veracity emphasizes the importance of honesty and truth-telling. Healthcare professionals should provide accurate information to patients and colleagues to maintain trust and integrity. In Part 1, the nurse’s failure to communicate the missed medication administration violates the principle of veracity.

Recommendations for Nurse Executives

To avoid incidents like the one portrayed in Part 1, nurse executives should implement safeguards to promote patient safety. First, comprehensive protocols and procedures should be developed and consistently followed to minimize the risk of errors. This includes double-checking medication orders and implementing barcode scanning systems for medication administration. Advanced technologies like electronic health records (EHR) can also be utilized to reduce medication errors.

Second, nurse executives should prioritize and promote effective inter-professional communication. This includes establishing clear channels of communication between nurses, physicians, and other healthcare team members. Regular team meetings and open forums can facilitate communication and provide opportunities for clarifying medication orders or addressing concerns.

Third, nurse executives should foster a culture of reporting and learning from errors. Nurses should be encouraged to promptly report near misses or potential errors without the fear of retribution. This allows for timely intervention and improvement of patient safety practices. Nurse executives should also ensure that there are systems in place for investigating reported incidents, implementing corrective actions, and providing feedback to staff.

In conclusion, the comparison of the two scenarios highlights the issues and considerations surrounding legal and ethical decision-making in healthcare settings. The lessons learned emphasize the importance of prioritizing patient safety, effective communication, patient advocacy, and adherence to ethical principles. Nurse executives should implement safeguards such as comprehensive protocols, promote inter-professional communication, and foster a culture of reporting and learning from errors to prevent incidents and ensure favorable outcomes.