the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses (Appendix A) and discuss how the various
statements relate to the principles discussed in this chapter
the following hypothetical situation and answer the questions that follow: An
elderly gentleman presents himself to the emergency department of a small
community hospital. The patient has contractures and paralysis of his left
hand; he apparently has complete expressive and at least partial receptive
aphasia. Upon questioning, the man takes off his right shoe and points to his
right great toe and grimaces, apparently indicating a problem in that area. The
nurse is unable to gather any further information from him because of his
difficulty in communicating. In attempting to help him, she asks if he has a
neighbor or friend accompanying him. He shakes his head, indicating that he is
alone. Curious, the nurse asks him how he came to the hospital. The patient
smiles and proudly produces a driver’s license from his shirt pocket.
Subsequently, the nurse leaves the room and returns a few minutes later to find
that the patient left the hospital, having received no care. The nurse suspects
that because of his current physical condition the man is unsafe to drive a
motor vehicle. • What are the ethical implications in this situation? • What
ethical principles are involved? • Should the nurse pursue avenues to locate
the patient and ensure that he is not endangering himself or others by driving?
Would this be a breach of confidentiality? Autonomy? • How does the nurse
express fidelity in this situation? • What is the beneficent action?