Assessment Task 3 Essay
50%, (2,000 Words)
Taylah presents to the sexual health clinic and requests contraception. The sexual health nurse discusses methods of contraception with Taylah.
Taylah is a diabetic and has self esteem and body image issues evidenced by her risk taking behaviour related to sexual activity, partying and binge drinking.
She looks older than her 14 years and this leads to expectations from others, including older boys. Taylah has recently become sexually active, having recently had sexual intercourse with two 'random' boys at parties whilst binge drinking.
Write an essay identifying the relevant legal and ethical considerations presented in the case scenario utilising current research.
Focus on Beauchamp and Childress’ Four main ethical principles. Identify how these apply in the case scenario.
Formatting & presenting your essay
Legal and ethical decision making in case of Taylah
In this essay, we will discuss the legal and ethical issues related to patient safety and security. The registered nurses must consider the legal and ethical aspect of patient for providing better care and services. In healthcare practice, legal and ethical issues are the fundamental for conducting professional services and practice. If the healthcare professionals are working with the minor and young people then the additional considerations are required due to their stage of development and legal status. In Australia, working with individual under the age of 18 requires professional maturity and decision making capabilities of the healthcare professionals. In our case study, 14 years old girl Taylah has to find healthcare support in terms of safety and well-being as she is became sexually active in recent days. She is suffering from diabetes and body shaming which indulge them to take risk in her sexual life. She is a minor and her family is unknown about her activities. Therefore, underage of Taylah create legal and ethical consideration for her and the sexual health nurse. Furthermore, the case of Taylah has drawn attention on legal and ethical considerations like guardianship, maintenance of privacy and confidentiality, and practice of ethical principle in healthcare services. We will discuss all the aspects in our essay.
It is considered as an expression of an individual’s right to establish their own life (Zahedi et al., 2013). In this case scenario the important legal and ethical issues arise as Taylah is 14 years old minor and requested for contraception. The healthcare nurse is discussing with a girl who was alone and came without her parental consent. Informed consent is essential while providing treatment to the patient. As per the common law of contraception in Australia, any children under the age of 18 can be able to get medical treatment about contraception on their own behalf and without their parent consent (Victoria Legal Aid, 2019). As per the common law, the young people aged below 18 can make provide informed consent; however, the medical professionals should consider the nature of treatment and the capability of the individual to understand the treatment procedure. Furthermore, common law suggested that an individual is considered as capable of consenting unless difficulties arise from their ends. In this situation the nurses should respect the help seeking behaviour of Taylah on medical treatment of contraception. In addition, Beauchamp and Childress address four principles of ethics in their Principle of Biomedical Ethics, which can be considered in this case scenario (Page, 2012). As per the concept of autonomy of Beauchamp and Childress, the nurses should respect the right of Taylah and offer the principle of beneficence to her. In 1986, the English House of Lord's judgement in UK agreed that the healthcare nurses can prescribe pills of contraception to their patients aged below 16 years and without their parent’s consent (Bird,2011).In this case scenario the service provider is responsible for explaining the details information to Taylah about the treatment process before giving the consent and providing necessary advice to her relayed to the procedures. In addition, if the medical professional provides treatment without the informed consent of the client then it can be considered as medical offence and the responsible professional can face the charges of assault and battery. Therefore, informed consent can allow the nurses to continue the intervention process with Taylah in a positive way. According to nursing and midwifery board of Australia, informed consent can help in decision making process of the nurses. Furthermore, the nurses should take verbal consent before asking the personal questions to the client. It would respect the privacy and confidentiality of the client. Additionally, informed consent can assist the nurses in their decision making process and assure that the client is realising and supporting their decisions and ensure their safety and security (Fernandes et al., 2015). Therefore, Taylah can realise that the whole procedure can improve her health and well-being and do not interfere with her diabetes management.
Guardianship for Taylah
Guardianship is another legal and ethical issue which needs consideration in case of Taylah. Adults have the opportunities to make their own decisions. However, Taylah is a 14 year old minor girl visited the clinic for contraception and wants to keep the matter confidential. She can be judgemental on herself in terms of getting contraception treatment. In such circumstances the healthcare nurse can appoint a tribunal to act on behalf of her guardian in decision making process as she is too young to make such decision. This tribunal can help her in the decision making process(The Conversation, 2018). The medical professionals can encourage the minor seeking help for contraception to incorporate their parents in the decision making process but if the individual refuses the idea and unwilling to incorporate the parents then the caregiver should respect their thoughts (Mazza et al., 2012). In New South Wales (NSW), the individual aged 14 and more can take their own consent to their treatment process if the medical professionals are protected from the charges of any missed practice (Legal Services Commission, 2018). Therefore, Taylah is a minor and legally competent to take own decision if she develops sufficient intelligent and understanding at her age. In this respect her background should be checked and considered.
Principle of ethics in case f Taylah
It is the concept of respecting the basic values of the human being and respecting the individual rights. It is essential that nurses should ensure quality services for their clients. Furthermore, the concept of respecting and valuing the individuals and their thoughts is based on the four principles of ethics which include autonomy: the rights of an individual for making their own choices, beneficence: it beliefs that acting with the superior interest for the other, non-maleficence: do not harm anyone, justice: emphasises on equality and fair practice. Thus, the principles are providing guidance in decision making process. As per autonomy, the clients have rights to process and make decision in their independent way. Therefore, the nurses should respect the decision of Taylah on taking contraception. The nurses should inform her about the risk of the process so that she can consider the whole things in her decision making process (Department of Health, 2011). Furthermore, beneficence is another principle which focuses on the action or activity which is attempted for the benefit of the sufferers. In this respect, the nurses should promote the health and well-being of Taylah by informing her about the consequences of unprotected sex and addiction. It would minimise the risk of her in future. Non-maleficence is another principle of ethics which addressing the idea of Hippocratic Oath which means doing no harm. This principle allows the nurses to educate Taylah about the safe sex practice and inform her that unprotected sex can be fatal or can increase the risk of sexually transmitted disease. Therefore, unprotected sex is violating the concept of non-maleficence as it can harm the individual(Australia reach out, 2019). The sexual health nurses can provide medication to Taylah for her better health and well-being. Another principle of ethics is justice, which implies the equality or fairness. In this case study, sexual health nurse is abiding to provide better care and facilities to Taylah after considering her needs. The nurses should be respectful and supportive towards Taylah to ensure the quality in healthcare facilities. The use of ethical framework within the workplace can assure safe practice and health outcomes for both the service providers and users (Better health, 2019). Therefore, professionals should obey the ethical principles with their clients under the duty of care for eliminating the risk of harm to their patients or clients. However, the principles of ethics cannot provide self-confident, and answers but adhering of the concept can offer guidance to the patients in their decision making process. Quality care is a fundamental right of the individuals and imposing harm can be considered as careless which not accepted.
Confidentiality and privacy of patient
Confidentiality is essential for maintaining ethical standard in healthcare practice. It is a form of disclosure which is protecting the patients. Confidentiality is an agreement between the service providers and users that information gather and discuss during the intervention process should not be with others without the permission of the concerned person (Raising Children Network, 2019). As per the health service act, 1988, all the healthcare service providers should maintain silence about the personal information and details of their patients at any stage of intervention(Legislation, 2019). In this case scenario the sexual health nurse has the responsibility and duty of protecting Taylah by maintaining the confidentiality about her personal details. The healthcare nurse should inform Taylah that hr personal information will be secured and not shared with anyone without her concerned. It can make the things easy for her and she can share necessary information with the healthcare professional which can be utilised for intervention purpose.
Appropriate handling of the information helps to maintain the privacy in workplace. The patients have the right to know the reason behind the asking of personal information during the intervention process and who will view their personal details in future(Australia reach out, 2019). Taylah can be afraid of sharing information with the healthcare nurse. She would ask the privacy of her personal details whatever she would have shared with the nurse. She has the right to know why such personal questions are essential for continuing the treatment process. In Australia various sexual legislative laws have been implemented. Therefore, practicing of substantive law can protect Taylah form practicing the underage sexual practice(Fedcourt, 2019). Furthermore, practice of communicating legislative laws in case of Taylah identifying that the healthcare nurse is practicing the principles of beneficence for the benefit of her patient. It has recognised that in Victoria, the people have clear age limitation for performing the sexual activities. Therefore, young adolescent between the ages of 12-15 years are not legally allowed to perform the sexual activities. However, it cannot be considered as offence if the partners have less than 2 years of age differences (Victoria Legal Aid, 2019). In Victoria, breaching the law can be considered as punishable offence. In New South Wales (NSW), the crime act (1900) stated that the individual do not have any legal defence if he or she was accused for engaging in sexual activity with an underage individual (Department of Health, 2011). Conversely, the crime act, 1958 suggested that consent is not a defence at the time alleged offence the individual was 12 or more. The age of consent law permit Taylah to be secured and aware of the risk of underage sexual activities.
At last it can be concluded that abiding the legal and ethical laws and issues in healthcare facilities is necessary. It can provide safety and security to the patient and offer better facilities. The four ethical principles are the fundamental of good practice in healthcare facilities. It can also maintain the legal and ethical issues in healthcare facilities. In this case scenario we will discuss the legal and ethical aspect in clinical practice. Consent is the first component of legal and ethical issues. As Taylah is a 14 years old girl and seeking help for contraception due to her unprotected sexual activities. She can make her own consent with her guardian and can select the better option for her own future. However, appointing a guardianship can help Taylah to make correct decisions or review her own decision once. It is essential to respect the emotion and values of the patients and make them comfortable in healthcare facilities. Additionally, the application of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice would help Taylah in her decision making process and she would realise the risk taking behaviour of her which can be harmful. Furthermore, practice of confidentiality and privacy by the healthcare professionals can assure the patient and they express their journey without any hesitation. The personal information of the patients should not be disclosed without their consent. Taylah have the right to get supportive and positive care and services from the healthcare professionals and her personal information should be kept in privacy. The healthcare professional should respect the right of Taylah and act accordingly.