Year	No.	Offer	Mode	Description			Cred. Pts
97	67534 	S2  	X 	NURSING AND THE LAW       	1.00



Examiner: B. DE LA RUE
Moderator: K. FAHY


The expectations of an experienced Registered Nurse include a cognisance of the law of their country. If they commit a crime unwittingly they cannot plead ignorance to exempt them from the consequences of their actions. In practice, Registered Nurses are faced with many complex legal dilemmas that challenge them to make decisions that will both safeguard themselves and ensure safe practice. To do so effectively, these practitioners need to have a high level of understanding and knowledge of the relevant legal concepts and principles pertaining to their practice.


This unit focuses on law for the experienced Registered Nurse. It will increase the students' knowledge and understanding of the legal aspects of the relevant Acts and Regulations with regard to their nursing practice.


On successful completion of this unit students will be able

  1. identify ways in which experienced Registered Nurses can be
    found responsible at law;
  2. identify strategies to fulfill the elements of a valid
    consent, and duty of care;
  3. critically assess their role in nursing practice in relation
    to Acts and Regulations governing their practice;
  4. implement safe practice when faced with complex legal
    dilemmas, phone, faxed and electronically assisted eg. tele-
    medicine orders, informed consent, confidentiality, reporting
    domestic violence and child abuse, false imprisonment;
  5. distinguish features of industrial law including the law of
    contract; and
  6. propose recommendations for safe practice when faced with
    complex legal dilemmas concerning criminal law and state
    involvement in birth and death registration and coronial


 Description                                                    Weighting(%)
  1. Ways in which experienced Registered Nurses can be 20.00 responsible at law - Contract of employment - Registration and practice

  2. Consent 20.00 - those considered legally incompetent - ethical challenges to obtaining an informed consent - negligence - Duty of Care - emergencies - informed consent, false imprisonment, battery/assault

  3. Complex Legal Dilemmas 20.00 - documentation and reporting - record keeping/confidentiality/privacy - Poisons Act/phone orders/transcribing

  4. Criminal law and Nursing Practice 20.00 - state involvement in birth and death: registration and coronial inquiries

  5. Mental Health 20.00


Edginton, J. 1995, Law for the Nursing Profession and Allied Health
Care Professions
, 3rd edn, CCH Australia Ltd, North Ryde, NSW.

Wallace, M. 1995, Health Care and the Law, The Law Book Co Ltd, NSW.


Journal of Law and Medicine, The Law Book Co Ltd.

McFarlane, P. 1993, Health Law, The Federation Press, NSW.

McFarlane, P. & Leg, S. 1993, Queensland Health Law Handbook,
Queensland Department of Health, Queensland.

Staunton & Whyburn 1993, Nursing and the Law, W.B. Saunders, Sydney.


Directed Study                                	50
Private Study                                 	100


No  *F/S Marks     Due        Description                              Wtg(%)    LBL
1   S              18/08/97  ESSAY (1500 WORDS) LEGAL ISSUES FOR RN'S  20.00     Y
2   S              15/09/97  REPORT (2000 WORDS)                       30.00     Y
3   S              10/11/97  REPORT (3000 WORDS)                       50.00     Y

*F=Formative, S=Summative


The  first  of  the two reports will be concerned with recommendations
arising  from case studies on Consent. The second of the  two  reports
will  be concerned with recommendations arising from an analysis of  a
complex clinical situation that requires a legal decision.
In accordance with University policy and guidelines:
1    An  examiner  may  grant  an extension of  the  due  date  of  an
     assignment in extenuating circumstances.
2    No  assignments  will be accepted for assessment  purposes  after
     assignments  or  model  solutions have been  released  except  in
     extenuating circumstances.
3    Assignments  submitted after the due date without any extenuating
     circumstances  will  attract a penalty of  at  most  20%  of  the
     assignment mark for each working day late.
4    Students who submit an assignment after the due date and wish  to
     claim   extenuating   circumstances,  must  provide   documentary
     evidence with the assignment explaining the circumstances.
5    The   unit  examiner  shall  consider  a  claim  for  extenuating
     circumstances and decide on the outcome.
6    The  decision of the Dean shall be final in any dispute that  may
     arise in the implementation of these guidelines.

This information is accurate as at 28/11/97