Transition To Professional Practice 3
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An RN graduated in 1997. Her career covered mental health, surgical and disability services in different settings since registering. Working in a general medical unit in a regional hospital several events occurred that led to a series of incident reports being made by the senior nurse manager, an enrolled nurse and the unit manager. The reports led to complaints being made to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. The allegations included that the nurse had accessed healthcare records for patients not in her care and that when the unit manager was not on shift the RN spent her time on the computer leaving the enrolled nurse to manage the patients. During the course of the investigation and the hearing, the unit manager commented favourably on the RN’s clinical skills and experience. The unit manager also revealed that the RN was under stress resulting from difficulties experienced at her previous place of employment that had not been resolved at the time.
Points to Consider:
a) With reference to the appropriate codes, standards and guidelines for safe practice in Australia identify the possible breaches of these that could potentially lead to a finding of unprofessional conduct or professional misconduct being made against the RN.
b) What would your responsibility be if you were working with the RN and were a witness to the nurse’s conduct?
c) What resources are available to assist you in these types of cases?
d) How does this scenario cause you to think about :
a. Your own and the groups professional conduct
b. Ethics and legislation in nursing practice
c. Mandatory reporting. What are nurses obliged to report?
d. The enablers and barriers to reporting unprofessional behavior and the strategies that would be most effective to handle these.
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