Ethics of Health Care Professionals – Holmes Case Study

The nursing profession provides a range of ethical principles to help practitioners engage in quality care that meets the expectations of all stakeholders. Specifically, the code of ethics clarifies responsibilities and roles within the nursing profession while providing guidance to professionals for addressing common ethical dilemmas. All healthcare professionals are expected to ensure stakeholder satisfaction and engagement, reduce systemic wastes, and improve clinical outcomes regardless of specific practice in the setting, portfolio of work, and organization size. Failure to abide by the laid out principles of ethics can lead to revocation of licenses and execution of punishment by relevant licensure board. This essay reviews the case of Mary Ann Holmes, a nurse who faced punishment after engaging in ethical violations (Holmes v. Louisiana State Board of Nursing, 156 So. 3d 183 (2014)).

            Holmes received her RN practice license in Louisiana in 2010. She was then employed in a nearby healthcare facility. Regrettably, she did not get along with her colleagues, and any effort of collaboration with them was not successful. She was accused of yelling at workers, engaging in rude behaviors and behaving in “insubordinate manner.” Her misconduct continued despite receiving counsel and warnings. Patients and workers allegedly complained about her behavior, citing concerns about the professionality of her practice. In one instance, Holmes is said to have yelled at a unit secretary after which she shook her and plopped her down in a chair.  She was immediately terminated from her duties in 2011. Her case was reported to the Louisiana Board of Nursing, which, in response, sent her a notice of the allegations and possible consequences that she would face if the report was true.

According to the Board, the consequences of Holmes’s actions included revocation of license and punishment as they constituted violations of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Board and violations of the Nurse Practice Act (California Board of Registered Nursing, 2018). At Holmes’s request, the Board organized a formal hearing which resulted in the presentation of evidence and subsequent revocation of her license. Holmes proceeded by filing a petition for judicial review of the board’s conclusion in the district court in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. However, the court affirmed the board’s judgment. Disgruntled by the ruling, she appealed to the Court of Appeal of Louisiana in 2014 which reaffirmed the order again.

By yelling at workers, engaging in rude behaviors, and behaving in “insubordinate manner,” Holmes did not only violate the provisions of ANA of the code of Ethics but also Nursing Practicing Act regulations. The first provision of the ANA Code of Ethics stipulates that all nurses should practice with respect and compassion for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person (American Nurses Association., 2001). The second third, fourth, and fifth provisions also hold the nurse accountable for the patient’s health and safety, decision-making in practice, character and integrity (American Nurses Association., 2001). Holmes violated all these provisions by neglecting the health of patients and failing to preserve the wholeness of integrity and character. In addition, she disregarded the Nursing Practicing Act regulations, which require all healthcare professionals to safeguard the health and safety of patients while maintaining professional conduct.

In conclusion, the nursing profession clarifies responsibilities, roles, and ethical boundaries within which practitioners should operate. Upon violation of these boundaries, nurses can face discipline and ejection from the profession. Holmes’s case clearly demonstrates the power and authority of a licensure board in executing such punishment and discipline measures.

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