discussion paper

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discussion paper

Ethical and Legal Implications

Medical Assistant

            According to the AAMA code of conduct for CMAs medical assistants should act with integrity and adhere to the highest standards for professional and personal conduct (American Association of Medical Assistants, 2021). In this practice scenario the medical assistant failed to meet the ethical code of integrity and conduct. Failing to report a “very low blood pressure” is considered ethically negligent and contradictory to non-maleficence. Legally the medical assistant may partially be responsible for patient harm if it is a result of their negligence alone; but it may be hard to prove the harm is solely from a failed report of one vital sign. The medical assistant does practice under the supervision of a licensed health care professional in the state of Illinois (American Association of Medical Assistants, 2022).

Nurse Practitioner

            The nurse practitioner ethically must address the incivility in the work environment as he/she is ethically bound to beneficence and non-maleficence. Legally the NP is in a supervisory role for the MA (American Association of Medical Assistants, 2022). Failure of the NP to provide adequate supervision of the MA could legally affect the NP. In this scenario the NP noticed the “very low blood pressure” and there is no other information of patient harm that directly resulted. Because there is a culture within the practice that does not exhibit a culture of safety, the NP must work towards improving the culture.

Medical Director

            Like the Nurse Practitioner, the Medical Director ethically must address the incivility in the work environment as he/she is ethically bound to beneficence and non-maleficence. Legally the MD could be held responsible if he/she has been alerted to the practice issues but allows the problems to occur that can result in patient harm. The Medical Director is ethically required to promote a culture of safety within the practice. Legally if the Medical Director allows such dangerous actions or inactions to continue, he/she may be held responsible.


            Ethically the practice needs to make many changes in order to abide by ethical practices thus providing safe patient care and employee well-being. Employers are responsible for employee health including mental wellbeing; thus the practice must take actions towards conflict management (McKibben, 2017). Legally if the incivility in the workplace continues thus affecting patient care and employee well-being, the practice could be held legally accountable for damages to patients or employees.

Strategies to Prevent Further Episodes

            To prevent further episodes of potential patient harm, the NP and Medical Director must meet to discuss the issues within the practice. The NP and Medical Director should consider positive management techniques to resolve personnel conflicts. Those in management need to meet individually and then as a team to address the intrapersonal conflicts. Additionally, a review and revision of employee policies regarding conflict management should be conducted. Another strategy that would be helpful in this practice is for the leaders (NP and MD) to enhance their leadership skills and qualities including conflict training and coaching (Solarz & Gaspar, 2019). A study noted that compassionate and positive leadership styles can reduce workplace incivility (Ko et al., 2021).

Leadership Qualities to Effect Change

            A Transformational leader will have a positive management approach to conflict resolution, they will motivate, and inspire to enhance the team morale (McKibben, 2017). A transformational leader will effectively resolve disagreements to collaboratively provide compromising accommodations within a conflict (McKibben, 2017). Additionally, a good leader exhibits personal qualities of honesty, resilience, good communication skills and assertiveness (McKibben, 2017). Moreover, an effective leader who promotes a compassionate workplace towards employees can be transformational in reducing occurrences of incivility (Ko et al., 2021).






Discussion Paper

This is an exceptional and detailed post about ethical and legal implications. Ethical values are crucial for every healthcare professional. It is a basis for clinicians, who encounter ethical issues routinely. Therefore, healthcare professionals such as medical assistants and medical directors have an ethical and legal obligation to safeguard their patients. Ignoring these responsibilities could lead to negative health outcomes and more harm to patients. In addition, clinicians can be held liable for their unethical behaviors. Ethics in healthcare is critical because it plays a role in helping healthcare professionals to identify dilemmas in healthcare, make sound judgments and decisions anchored on their values, and work within the laws or ethical codes that control them (Haddad & Geiger, 2018). Practicing competently with integrity requires healthcare providers to have rules and regulations that guide their practice. Consequently, they are expected to adhere to codes of ethics such as the AAMA code of conduct to guide their ethical practice.

Healthcare providers should understand the AAMA code of ethics to enable them to become aware of and identify their moral character and integrity. Healthcare professionals need a fundamental and clear understanding of basic ethical principles (Monroe, 2019). Clinicians, especially nurses should remain committed to patient care while advocating for the rights of patients to cultural norms and self-identity requirements. Ethical consideration in healthcare, though demanding, characterizes the true incorporation of the art of caring for patients. Many healthcare settings have ethics boards to examine ethical concerns. Healthcare professionals at all levels of practice need to be engaged in ethics review in their respective areas of specialty. Integration of ethics in clinical practice should start at the nursing school and continue throughout nursing practice


Haddad, L. M., & Geiger, R. A. (2018). Nursing ethical considerations. https://europepmc.org/article/nbk/nbk526054

Monroe, H. A. (2019). Nurses’ professional values: influences of experience and ethics education. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28(9-10), 2009-2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14806