Hospital Nursing License Defense Attorney in Kansas and Missouri

Nurses working in a hospital setting have a range of responsibilities. Hospital nurses must uphold the highest ethical standards of the profession while facing difficult, if not impossible circumstances at times. Many of the conditions that can lead to ethical dilemmas for hospital nurses are beyond their control. Other ethical situations are too complicated for one person to resolve correctly. Notwithstanding, nurses must continue to function while adhering to the code of ethics that guides the profession. Unfortunately, despite even the most extenuous attention paid to the ethical mandates of the profession, nurses can make ethical mistakes. Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger has the experience and dedication to nurses you need fighting for you if you are a nurse facing professional discipline.

What Are Some of the Ethical Problems Facing Nurses in Hospitals?

Because hospital nurses treat many people on a daily basis, the potential for an ethical mistake always exists. Ethical problems such as substance abuse and overwhelming stress are not limited to hospital nursing; those problems may be found throughout the profession. Hospital nurses, depending upon their assignment, may encounter any number of the following ethical situations:

  • Drug seeking behavior from patients;
  • Issues involving neonatal care;
  • Issues involving Advanced Directives and Living Wills in acute care settings, in particular among the elderly;
  • End-of-life issues and palliative care;
  • Protection of patients’ rights and privacy concerns;
  • Unethical practice of other health care professionals witnessed by the nurse; and
  • Shortage of nursing staff compromising nurse’s ability to treat patients competently.

This list is not exhaustive by any means. Nurses should be vigilant in trying to avoid these common situations.

What Should I Do If I Have a Question About My Ethical Duty?

At the outset, every nurse must have a working knowledge of the ethical rules governing nursing.  Additionally, nurses should have immediate access to their state’s laws and regulations governing the profession. Sometimes, simply reading the rules does not adequately resolve the dilemma the nurse is facing. Additionally, time may be of the essence. Consequently, reading and researching the answer may not be practicable. Here are a few suggestions as to what you can do:

  • Immediately consult a nursing supervisor or, if one is not available, the treating physician;
  • Consult the attending physician;
  • Contact the hospital’s ethics hotline;
  • Communicate with the hospital’s legal staff;
  • Speak with an ethical advisor from the board of nursing of which you are a member; and
  • Call your attorney.

How Can I Further Protect Myself?

Nurses are well trained to document medical files. Ethical questions must be properly documented. Follow the hospital’s procedures for documentation of these problems. If none, keep notes and document the patient’s charts appropriately. You should create a paper trail to the greatest extent possible. If you do find yourself responding to a disciplinary investigation, you will already have the documentation to support your position and justify your actions.  Here’s how you can further protect yourself:

  • Report unethical or unsafe behavior you observe to the appropriate authorities. No one wants to be a snitch, but professional ethics require reporting arguably unethical behavior. Failing or refusing to report can unnecessarily complicate matters and be grounds for professional discipline and
  • Do not speak to any investigators, hospital attorneys, or other authoritative figures without consulting your attorney first. Your attorney can advise you as to what the best course of action is for you at that time.

Professional Licensing Attorney Ready to Protect You

Ethical dilemmas are not pleasant, but professional licensees must face them. Hospital nurses are no different. If you have fallen victim to claims of unethical conduct, call nursing professional licensing lawyer Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 (Kansas) or 816-520-8040 (Missouri) today to schedule a consultation. Attorney Sanger has devoted her professional life to defending professional licensees who face discipline.