Health Services Administration
When a health practitioner fails to disclose a medical error he or she is clearly placing person interest above those of the patient. Moral courage is recommended for doctors whenever a medical error occurs. Such audacity is achieved through strict policies on disclosure in the place of work that trains doctors on how to open up and provide emotional support for health practitioners that make unintentional mistakes in their line of duty.
Unfortunately, in reality, most nurses are not of the idea that errors should be disclosed to patients when they occur. They opt to engage in extensive cover-ups under the pretext of maintaining the trust that patients have on medical staff members. Nurses are ethically bound to disclose errors regardless of whether it may impact the patient’s wellbeing negatively (White & Gallagher, 2013). Non-disclosure violates the principles of autonomy which is meant to protect patient’s self-determination. Non-disclosure interferes with the principle of conversant consent as patients are not made to understand why they have to seek additional interventions or stay in the hospital for a longer period than anticipated to correct an undisclosed blunder. Hence it is crucial to disclose errors not only as a sign of respect for autonomy but also to facilitate provision informed consent.
According to common law, Canada a physician has a legal obligation to disclose any erroneous deeds either to the patient r their spouse. Legally a patient is entitled to know the side effects of a procedure and be informed when things go as unanticipated. Courts have also incorporated fiduciary doctrines that uphold non-disclosure as violating of nurses fiduciary obligation.
As an advanced, it is better of disclosing any error unintentionally done. Although the patient might react rudely the case of non-disclosure might be far worse. For instance, it might be possible that with the error committed to rectifying it with the patient’s consent might take few additional weeks in the hospital. But failure to be transparent to such patients they might think they have fully recovered only to discover too late that their condition has been deteriorating.
There are those patients that are rational thinkers and understand that it can never be a wish of any nurse to make an error will saving a life. Disclosing to such patients they turn to be supportive and tolerant with the situation. This strengthens their physician-patient bound facilitating effective deliverance of quality medical attention.
Rational prescribing is a term used by the World Health Organization in addressing the worldwide use of drugs. Most nations have implemented programs that help in reducing irrational prescription of drugs. The process of writing prescription should be such that it ensures patients receive medication that is appropriate to their needs in doses that meet their personal requirements (Crigger & Holcomb, 2008, p. 123). When it comes to prescribing nurses should make decisions about treatment based on logic thinking about the patient’s condition. Usually inappropriate prescribing arises when a practitioner lacks sufficient knowledge regarding the best treatment for a patient.
One strategy that should be applied in order to minimize medication error is using an easy, comprehensive and digital means of entering prescription. Transcription errors such as inaccuracy and omissions account for about a fifth of most medication errors. These errors can be consistently minimized by using reliable techniques to authenticate patient’s identity while feeding their prescription into the hospital’s database. Off-label prescribing despite being legal and common it should be avoided because of the controversy associated with the practice. Follow-up should be done on a prescription to make sure that it is correct and comprehensive. And in the event of a medication error, a practitioner should not be demoralized but should rather learn from that experience and avoid a re-occurrence of such mistake.
Crigger, N., & Holcomb, L. (2008). Improving Nurse Practitioner Practice through Rational Prescribing. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 4(2), 120-125. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2007.12.004
White, A. A., & Gallagher, T. H. (2013). Medical error and disclosure. Ethical and Legal Issues in Neurology, 107-117.