Identify the two most relevant and significant Acts or Laws relevant to the case study.
Ensure you focus on the current time frame and situation and that identified legislation is
current and valid in Western Australia.
- Choose one of the Acts or Laws you have identified above and explain why it applies to
Ms Blume’s current care and situation. Ensure the Act/Law itself is used to discuss and
analyse why it is relevant and significant.
- Identify one ethical issue that you, as a student nurse, faces when caring for Ms Blume
during the morning shift.
- Outline and discuss one (1) strategy that you may use to deal with the ethically
challenging situation. You can choose either a type of communication strategy or a conflict
Ethical Case Study
Every individual in the health care system has to be aware of their ethical responsibility
as far as the work environment is concerned. The people they interact with and the cases they
handle in the emergency department are dictated by their knowledge and interpretation of the law
governing the health care system and the country at large. In Ms. Blume’s case, it is important to
understand the consequences of the decisions that an individual makes. In the case covered, the
most relevant Acts are the Civil Liability Act 2002 and the Guardianship Act.
As indicated, a lot of emergency procedures had to be undertaken to ensure that the patient’s
safety and health are not compromised. Brickley et al (2017) assert that sharing of information is
a topic that is evidently covered in the guardianship act. It outlines the responsibility that a nurse
or the institution bare if a decision is made based on the compromised information. In the case of
Ms. Blume, it would have been wrong not to tell her that she was pregnant. Under the
Guardianship Act, the mother would have been allowed to make decisions on behalf of Ms.
Blume if she was considered incapable of making sound treatment and financial decisions.
Acts or Laws relevant to the case study
ETHICAL CASE STUDY 2
In the case provided, the most applicable act is the health bill. As noted before, the
woman, in this instance, was expectant and she was unaware. The mother, on the other hand,
believes that it is to the victim’s best interest to keep the pregnancy test a secret, however, as a
practicing nurse; this would have been a mistake. The woman may end up suing the hospital on
bases of negligence; therefore it is wise that the doctors ensured that she was aware of her health
situation. In the Public Health Act 2016, part 15. One is forbidden from giving false information
or willingly withholding information as pointed out by Huston, (2013). If Blumes mother’s
advice were to be considered, then this would have led to a breach of the law and put the child,
the mother and all other responsible parties at risk.
When caring for Ms. Blume in the morning, it can be quiet challenging to create a
conversation because I wasn’t there when she was getting briefed. However, there is the fact that
she chooses to undertake long-term medication. As a result, her healing will be slow and might
not be complete. In the long run, the pain might occur repeatedly. As a nurse, one is advised not
to intervene on such matters since they tend to make the situation worse.
Further, one may be affected by the information they have. A good example is the case of
pregnancy, as a nurse, one is compelled to share this information with the patient and advise
them on the pros and cons of undertaking any of the suggested procedure. Cerit & Dinc (2013)
assert that in most hospitals, the nurses are required to follow the doctors lead; this means that all
they can do is follow the provided instructions. However, the most common ethical dilemma
faced by many nurses is sharing their knowledge, they are restricted to do this, and if logic can
ETHICAL CASE STUDY 3
be consulted, this might be helpful (Ilbaugh et al, 2016). Visiting the patient in the hospital every
morning and seeing them in pain makes one question the importance of this chain of commands.
Dealing with Ethical Issues
Being a nurse can be challenging when one is assigned to a particular patient over an
extended period. They may end up developing attachments, and this will affect the nurse’s
performance whenever they are undertaking their professional duty. To minimize such cases,
precautions must be taken in a quest to maintain a professional relationship between the patient
and the nurse. Therefore, in Ms. Blume’s case, Fry (2008) argues that it is important to establish
a way of dealing with the ethical issue at hand. Choosing a good communication strategy will be
useful given the nature of the problem.
The conflict, in this case, is the inability to communicating relevant information to the
doctor and giving a recommendation (Wieringa, 2014). To bridge this gap, it will be better to
identify the problem at hand and come up with a solution that will be effective. Once this is in
place, then it is advisable to address it to the doctor in charge and make them feel that they were
part of the solution (Koshima, 2013). In this case, the doctor and the nurse will both have a sense
Therefore, Ms. Blume’s case can be viewed as complex but the decisions that were
reached are simple, and they did not need outside interference. As a nurse, one is required make
independent decisions based on ethics and the law of the land in general. Therefore it is
important to steer away from outside influence. The patient’s mother was trying to influence her
decision through the nurse, and this is not right unless the principles of the Guardianship Act are
ETHICAL CASE STUDY 4
Even more, if the nurse did this she would be breaking the law; the Civil Liability Act
dictates that the patient is capable of taking legal action against the hospital for losses inquired
due to withholding information. When dealing with patients, there is an ethical issue such as
helping the patient by examining and suggesting the best medication option. The job is left for
the doctor to partake but with the best communication strategy, a nurse can help influence the
physician’s decision to help the patient.
Brickley, J. A., Lu, S. F., & Wedig, G. J. (2017). Malpractice laws and incentives to shield
assets: Evidence from nursing homes. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 14(2), 301-
Cerit, B., & Dinç, L. (2013). Ethical decision-making and professional behaviour among nurses:
a correlational study. Nursing ethics, 20(2), 200-212.
Huston, C. J. (2013). Professional issues in nursing: Challenges and opportunities. Lippincott
Williams & Wilkins.
Ilbaugh, T. J., Groll, D., Morrison, W., Liebow, N., & Lantos, J. D. (2016). Withholding
Information to Protect a Loved One. Pediatrics, 137(6), e20160665.
Koshima L, E., & Emanuel, E. J. (2013). Shared decision making to improve care and reduce
costs. New England Journal of Medicine, 368(1), 6-8.
ETHICAL CASE STUDY 5
Wieringa, R. J. (2014). Observational Case Studies. In Design Science Methodology for
Information Systems and Software Engineering (pp. 225-245). Springer Berlin