Informed Consent In Pediatric Nursing

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The field of nursing spans a broad spectrum of specialties. All present their own challenges, however one in particular is the field of Pediatric Nursing. Legal and ethical decision making usually involves the minor child’s parents or guardians.
Nurses are confronted daily with very difficult decisions that are made on the determination of right and wrong, legal, ethical, and moral understanding. Different states have laws that are specific to medical situations and a nurse must be familiar with the laws in the state where he or she is working. In 1914, Justice Benjamin Cardozo stated, “Every human being of adult years and sound mind, has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body…” (Schloendorff V.Society of N.Y. Hospital, 1914). This is referred to as informed consent. While children and adolescents are entitled to informed assent, it is usually the role of the child’s parent or legal guardian to give informed consent. Usually a child is asked to give assent prior to receiving treatment. Assent means the pediatric patient has been informed about what will happen during treatment and is willing to permit a healthcare provider to perform necessary care. While assent from the minor is not legally required for proper healthcare, federal law requires that all children age seven and older give assent before
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The first exception is mandatory reporting for suspected child abuse (Gupta, 2007). The second exception would apply to patients who are injured by a weapon or a criminal act. The third exception would be reporting of infectious diseases to the local health department. Last, confidentiality may be breached to warn persons who may be genetically inclined to inherit a disease. Any breach of confidentiality carries both professional and legal ramifications. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) became enforceable under federal law (42 U.S.C 201 et

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