Legal Ethical Nursing Situation

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Nurses working in the field of HIV/AIDS epidemiology are often best placed to understand the anxieties, values, life problems, rights and obligations of sufferers. Yet they have very little voice in this field. Nurses working in the epidemiological process often find themselves in morally problematic situations…

Introduction

(Scott, 2000)
Practice sisters in GP group practices who often do the actual disease notification are not the ones to receive the statutory payment. Senior HIV/AIDS discharge co-coordinators (nurses) and research nurses have been employed with part of their job defined in terms which are normally part of the doctor's role. Needless to say, they are paid less than doctors. There is generally a lack of recognition and concern for the dilemmas nurses are faced with in this field. Although the ethical codes of both the medical and nursing professions are not at odds on these matters, the actual practice is. In fact, the nursing code in particular is quite advanced and very clear, but the conflicts and power struggles which still exist between medicine and nursing make it very difficult for nurses-advocates of the patients-to live by the letter and spirit of their code. Not only does the individual nurse suffer in this situation, but any decent nurse is forced into defending the rights of the patient in opposition to the quality of the data collected. This is not an argument against nurses entering the field of epidemiology, but rather an argument for bringing the rights of the individual patient and the public aims of epidemiology and health policy together. ...
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