Victoria Weller is a registered nurse working in a family planning clinic in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane. Victoria’s job includes the provision of sexual health advice to young people who attend the clinic. Victoria has been asked to see Stella Nguyen, before her appointment with Doctor Howe. Stella, who is 16 years old, has come to the clinic for contraceptive advice and treatment. During consultation, Victoria learns that Stella lives with her aunt since her mother passed away a few years ago. Stella tells Victoria that she “had to grow up quickly” after her mother died, and that she has never known her father.
Stella tells Victoria that she has been in a sexual relationship with her boyfriend for about six months and that she and her boyfriend are generally “very careful” but they had unprotected sex two days ago. Stella is now worried she might be pregnant and wants to get a prescription for the morning after pill. Stella is aware that the morning after pill needs to be taken within 72 hours to prevent pregnancy. Stella would also like to be prescribed the contraceptive pill for the future. Victoria advises Stella that the contraceptive pill may be a good long-term option and educates Stella on risks, side effects and alternatives. Stella appears to be mature for her age and already has a good understanding of the range of contraceptive options that are available.
Victoria asks Stella if her Aunt knows about her relationship with her boyfriend and Stella replies that she and her Aunt are not close and that her Aunt would not understand. Stella tells Victoria, “I do not want my Aunt to know about my boyfriend or about this visit. This consultation stays private, right?” Victoria lets Stella know that Doctor Howe will be in shortly to discuss Stella’s options and proceeds to take Stella’s blood pressure. Victoria notices some recent bruises on Stella’s arm when she pushes up the sleeve of her uniform and she asks how Stella got the bruises. Stella looks down and says that her Aunt’s boyfriend sometimes gets angry but quickly adds that she only has to live at her Aunt’s home for one more year and then she’ll be moving to Melbourne to live with her cousin. She pleads with Victoria, “Please don’t tell the doctor or anyone. I just want to get the morning after pill. Everything else will be fine.”
Victoria is unsure how she should proceed.
Apply the ethical and legal decision-making framework to the scenario.
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