The Australian Code of Conduct for Nurses (the Code) defines the legal standards, professional behavior, and ethical criteria in Australia for all nurses, in all work environments. It defines the standards of professional conduct that govern healthy practice, and explains clearly the actions their co-workers and the wider community demand of nurses. Registered nurses have religious views and values of their own (Ingham-Broomfield 2015). The code, therefore, provides basic criteria that are required to be followed by all nurses in their practice. The code also gives nursing students an understanding of the nurses' expected behaviors. Nurses have a professional duty for learning and keeping with the law. They do have a responsibility in the profession to make people 's needs their priority, and to work efficiently and safely. Nurses teach and behave according to laws applicable to the nursing profession and practice. Nurses observing the illegal conduct of co-workers and other work colleagues, whether, in medical, administration, training or practice areas of study, both have a duty and an obligation to document such behavior to a relevant authority and to take such reasonable measures as required to protect the interests of the public and the community. AHPRA and its employees must be notified if a regulatory and legal body has placed constraints on their work, including limits, obligations, undertakings, suspensions, alerts, or rebukes, and understands that violation of such restrictions will put the public at danger and could trigger unprofessional activity or negligence (Chadwick 2016).
Implication by the health facility
Substance abuse is a significant problem for the nursing profession. The healthcare organization should immediately inform about the substance abuse to the higher authorities and the staff has to be removed from the duty of care. The staff can be educated and conveyed that substance abuse is not only detrimental to the nurse health but also inappropriate in taking care of the patient as it risks their lives. Furthermore, the nurse's condition can endanger the patient's life in their treatment (Horner et al. 2019). The health care facility can recognize nurses with a substance abuse problem, which can save lives by helping them find effective recovery facilities. Administration personnel and managers can lookout for signs of weakness in the workers, including long absence, repeated trips to the bathroom, late arrival and early departure, repetitive medical errors, colleague loneliness, unwanted emotional responses, or reduced alertness. When suspecting a substance abuse problem, the nurse is usually put on leave before an examination can be performed (Raines 2019). For most states, the Board and the local police department are expected to report the violence to the nursing management team and human resources officials. The codes of conduct for nurses in Australia have a systematic framework and varying rates of legal action against nurses during such conduct. The health facility has a testing method and several service rates to support nurses during recuperation (Johnstone 2019). Reports of the report will be used and the procedure for services inside the hospital can be established to help the nurse return to work until they are safe to practice.
If a colleague is identified as using a drug that affects their nursing practice, their co-workers, and/or senior staff face an ethical dilemma (Vrbnjak et al. 2016). The same ethical dilemma I face as to whether complaints about the colleague or keep a blind eye to inappropriate behavior. The colleague also asked me not to report the situation to the senior nurses as she can get failed in the course or even get dropped from the university. Since the behavior was continued in the past few days, I decided to report the misconduct of my colleague taking into account the safety of patients my colleague was handling in the shifts. I initially felt bad that I complained about my friend but then I realized that it is an important part of my profession to make patients need my priority and to work efficiently and safely for the patient health and well-being (Arnold and Boggs 2019). If I would not have reported the misconduct a patient life could have been put into risk, this thought continuously made me feel guilty and the decision making was done to move out of the ethical dilemma.
Nurses should behave honestly and ethically and should not indulge in criminal activity as it can harm their career and/or damage the profession 's reputation. Nurses must maintain the professional relationship between nurse and client by not taking belongings and/or properties that belong to the hospital or the patients or their families. Unlawful possession and selling of drugs outside the health-care facility placed serious illegal acts on the person. The nurses are also expected to use, administer, receive, hold, deliver, deliver, distribute, purchase and store drugs and other medical items safely under the law, authorization, local policy, and own scope of practice (Lancaster, Seear and Treloar 2015). Drug distribution outside the hospital violates the Code of Conduct and is contrary to the statute. Based on the incident, the violations of nursing ethics may have major consequences for both the nurses and the nursing students. They can face punishment from their nursing board of control, or their employer. They may face litigation, as well. Nurses have a professional duty for learning and keeping with the law. Nurses do have a responsibility in practice to make people's needs their priority, and to practice safely and efficiently (Bickhoff, Levett-Jones and Sinclair 2016). Alternatively helping a friend and colleague in such a situation can make it ethically wrong for the person as well as the addition of risk to the health of the patients handled by the individual.
Implications for the health facility
The health facility can make guidelines for drug distribution programs stricter in these situations. The hospital should make activities where they can track an in-depth view of product procurement, delivery, handling, and storage. Inventory checks must be carried out and the company should follow legal/professional storage and management standards and review trends of product loss. The spillage of drugs, failure, breakage, may also be strictly managed with a control. There really should be a policy of no physicians giving on-the-job medications (Collins 2018). The hospital may also follow a stringent policy where staff are not permitted to take any drug trolley medicine. The hospital departments should also be interested in ensuring legal and competent drug protection and management standards that personnel will be required to complete incident reports immediately if there are irregularities in medication counts. The management of pharmacy inventories is a dynamic but essential mechanism within the distribution system for health care (Moons, Waeyenbergh and Pintelon 2019). Despite proper pharmacy inventory control procedures, hospitals run the problem of not being able to deliver the most suitable drug to patients when it is needed most. This tracking, surveillance, drug control is important to handle the medications for the patient's needs and to prevent the illicit trafficking outside the health facility (Volland 2017).
I had always kept patient safety at the forefront of my mind and practiced it with dignity. But in that situation, I was in an ethical dilemma, because if I report my friend's illegal activity to the police, my friend would lose the job. Recruiting support and finding guidance in the face of ethical dilemmas is often of vital importance for making the right decisions (Resnik and Elliott2016). I have received advice from my senior on the case. I came to learn after consulting with the senior that these kinds of legal dilemmas, and breaches, are sadly part of nursing. The only way to address them is to predict them and view them critically. However, at the same time, through evidence-based practice, I realized that the unethical actions of colleagues and other co-workers must be recorded for the benefit of patients, whether in clinical, management, education, or practice areas of study (Rathert, May and Chung 2016). It is both a duty and an obligation to report such actions to an appropriate authority and to take some reasonable steps to protect citizens and the public interest if required.
The nursing student has to be immediately be sent for counseling. Even if the nursing student is undergoing personal loss, they are not allowed to work under the influence of alcohol. The situation has to be reported in APHRA so that the legal obligations can be carried out. The senior nurse will act under the requirement of the Australian nurses' code of conduct which specifies that nurses will practice and behave in compliance with the laws applicable to the nursing profession and practice (Bismark 2016). Nurses observing the unethical actions of staff and other co-workers, whether, in medical, administration, educational or practice fields of study, both have a duty and a right to notify such actions to a relevant agency and to take such reasonable measures if required to protect the public health and the patients (Nair 2015). Additionally, the nursing student tended to share uniform pictures on the social media website while drinking alcohol, which also violates the code of conduct. Regrettably, occupational health disability is a common issue in the healthcare industry. Impairment occurs when a medical provider has been unable to deliver effective and secure health treatment because alcohol, prescribed or non-prescription medications or psychologically altering conditions impair them (Kerr 2016). As a consequence of this condition, the health care provider is unable to carry out provider duties and obligations safely in the manner necessary to their career.
Implications for the senior registered nurse
The supervisors/manager's duty to encourage positive feedback to drug and alcohol issues in the medical facility. There seem to be a range of management practices, beliefs, and attitudes that may prevent future alcohol or other drug issues in the career field. The licensed nurse manager has to report about the behavior of the nursing students. It cannot be dismissed even though the nursing student suffers a personal loss or allegations will cause the student to be expelled from the university (Sharma 2019). Senior registered nurses will take the staff under the trust to assist if the staff are having any problems. Staff need to be informed about the standards of conduct in the workplace as well as being advised clearly that alcohol or drug misuse is not the solution to any issue (Dang and Dearholt 2017). All senior employees should be encouraged to follow open amiable management styles so that junior employees feel comfortable addressing specific personal issues. The seniors should provide their workers with a loving positive work environment. The other solutions may be responsiveness to excessive workload and attempts to reduce work-related stressors and to provide nurses in distress with improvements in contracts and rosters. This will make the workers more confident to claim they need extra changes due to financial problems (Hersch et al. 2016). If necessary, the workers will be allowed to rotate the field of work. Unless the workers themselves provide details on any problem the manager will be committed to monitoring the progress of workers on the alcohol and other drugs issues.
As a senior nurse, I was put in a position to ask why I did not act earlier to answer nursing students' concerns regarding drug abuse if the health of the patient is threatened. Alternatively, employees are put in a position to have to determine whether to report to a friend and colleague or not to preserve health and practice norms. Either way, other employees are affected by the improper behavior of another and this in itself can install a feeling of anger and frustration that leads to a stressful environment for all concerned (Parsons 2016). It is useful to consider, when working through an ethical dilemma, that moral judgments must be information-based. It should not be mistaken with taking moral judgment based upon one's beliefs for another's actions. Explanation of beliefs helps nurses recognize their principles related to ethical conduct (Rainer et al. 2018). If a dispute occurs, action should be taken. The next goal is to establish a systematic, factor-based study of the circumstance. Be mindful that each nurse is responsible for maintaining quality patient service, as well as providing a healthy workspace for others. In this obligation comes the right to work in an area that does not harm others, physically or emotionally (Barlow et al. 2018).
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