There are various health care laws, policies as well as ethical standards and professional guides that are mostly used towards the delivery of health care services in the society (Gallagher, 2009). In most cases, health care providers in the society including nurses are usually expected to provide health care services based on health care policies and professional standards such as the state nurse practice policy, the ANA’s Nursing practices as well as the basic ethical standards health care services delivery (ANA publishes newly updated Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, 2015). This clearly indicates that there is a strong relationship between health care laws and health care services delivery in the society. Furthermore, the legal and regulatory aspects of health care services delivery is usually based on the ethical responsibility of nurses in promoting the patient autonomy, beneficence as well as justice and non-malfeasance (Milstead, 2013).
Therefore, this paper will focus on the case study of Lena, who is a community care nurse and works mostly with HIV positive and AIDS patients in the society. She mostly evaluates some new cases and reviews confidential information of various patients in the workplace. Due to the nature of her Job she learns that her sister’s boyfriend is HIV positive, and her main aim and objective is to provide professionally and ethically protection to her sister without causing any harm to her. In that sense, the paper will involve and cover a number of legal and ethical standards such as ANA’s code of ethics to support the best way through which Lena can ethically protect her sister.
Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Health Care Delivery
There are various ethical standards and policies that are related to HIV testing and treatment in the society including issues dealing with the patient confidentiality of information, informed consent as well as conflict of interest and vulnerability of some population (Gallagher, 2009). According to the American medical journal reports and publications, there are various ethical standards and policies related to clinical research including respect to persons, beneficence and justice (Milstead, 2013). Respect to persons usually involves respecting the views and decisions of autonomous individuals in the society thus allowing nurses and other medical providers to treat their patients with a lot of respect (Milstead, 2013).However, beneficence policies ensure that nurses maintain good ethical conduct towards their health care services delivery (ANA publishes newly updated Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, 2015). Justice usually ensures that all patients are treated fairly without causing them any harm or discrimination (Gallagher, 2009).
According to ANA’s nurse practices, nurses are usually allowed to violate the rule of confidentiality in cases of providing HIV-related information to persons at health care risks without any legal penalty imposed on them. In that sense, Lena is free, ethically and legally allowed to disclose her sister’s boyfriend HIV status to her in order to protect her from being infected with HIV/AIDS (ANA publishes newly updated Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, 2015). Breaching the rule of confidentiality is allowed in such cases since it will prevent serious harm from Lena’s sister (Milstead, 2013).
It is legally right and professional for Lena to test her sister to know her HIV status. However, this may require the provision of informed consent to validate her actions and reveal her HIV status (Gallagher, 2009). Through testing and knowing her sisters HIV status Lena will be able to provide appropriate and better HIV counseling and guidelines to her sister (Milstead, 2013). This will include the provision of medical education to psychological prepare her sister to live positively (Board of Health Care Services, 2007).
According ANA’S Nursing policies, reporting of HIV epidemic usually allows the government to plan effectively and intervene in reducing the condition in the society (Reinhardt, 2010). However, anonymous test are usually not reported. Spouse notification is usually allowed to reduce health risks to one of the partners (Gallagher, 2009). Based on confidentiality policies, medical information of patient are usually not allowed to be disclosed (ANA publishes newly updated Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, 2015). However, in cases of reporting notifiable conditions such as in Lena’s sister boyfriend, it is usually allowed.
Therefore, reporting of Lena’s sister boyfriend HIV status to Lena’s sister is legally and ethical right since it will reduce psychological problems to her sister. Furthermore, this will also protect and reduce her sister from getting HIV infection from her boyfriend thus protects her life (Kalb, & O’Conner-Von, 007). However, confidentiality, informed consent and privacy of information should be maintained to promote justice, respect to patients and beneficence (Gallagher, 2009).
- ANA publishes newly updated Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. (2015). American Nurse, 47(2), 7.
- Board of Health Care Services. (2007). Preventing Medication Errors: Quality Chasms Series. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 43-49.
- Gallagher, T. H. (2009). A 62-year-old woman with skin cancer who experienced wrong site surgery: Review of medical error. JAMA: Journal of the American Association, 302 (6), 669-677.
- Kalb, K. A., & O’Conner-Von, S. (2007). Ethics Education in Advanced Practice Nursing: Respect for Human Dignity. Nursing Education Perspectives, 28(4), 196-202.
- Milstead, J. A. (2013). Health Policy and Politics: A Nurse’s Guide. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
- Reinhardt, U. E (2010). Repercussions of Simplicity. New York Times. P. 14.