Skip to main content
USQ Logo
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

NUR8340 The Law and Health Care Practice

Semester 2, 2019 Online
Short Description: The Law & Health Care Practice
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Nursing and Midwifery
Student contribution band : National Priority - Nursing
ASCED code : 060399 - Nursing not classified
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Lynda Crowley-Cyr


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: MNRS or MNSG or GCHH or GDHH or MOHH


This course aims to provide students with the specialised knowledge and skills required to better meet their legal, ethical and professional obligations in increasingly modernising and complex health care systems and service delivery environments. Keeping up to date with laws, regulations and professional standards are critical to decision-making in health care practice. Unlawful and unsafe practices can have dire consequences for both patients and practitioners. Optimum health care practice requires legal and ethical frameworks that practitioners can apply when confronted by workplace dilemmas.


This course focuses on how the law in Australia operates and impacts on the delivery of health care services. Select topics explored in this course include (but not limited to) an overview of Australia's legal system, institutions and processes; professional negligence; consent; professional registration and complaints; and risk management in sometimes highly emotive and confronting health care environments.


On completion of this course, students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. Specialised knowledge of the legal system in Australia and the laws, policies and regulations that apply to health care practice.
  2. Critical review skills of contemporary law and health literatures to inform ethical, lawful and professional health care practice.
  3. Critical analysis skills to problem solve in the context of complex clinical practice scenarios.
  4. A self-reflective process to evaluate and respond to possible risks (legal, ethical or professional) in a health care service delivery environment.
  5. Pragmatic application of theories and principles of law and ethics to the design of reasoned responses to critical incidents in health care practice.
  6. Competency in and appropriate use of language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Perspective and health care context 10.00
2. Overview of legal and ethical frameworks in Australia 20.00
3. Civil Law and Liability 30.00
4. Criminal Law and Liability 10.00
5. Professional regulation, complaints and procedural fairness 20.00
6. Managing risk in health care practice 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Staunton, P. & Chiarella, M 2017, Law for Nurses and Midwives, 8th edn, Elsevier, Australia.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Johnstone, MJ 2015, Bioethics: a nursing perspective, 6th edn, Churchill Livingstone, Sydney.
McIllwraith, J & Madden, B 2014, Health care & the law, 6th edn, Pyrmont NSW, 6th edn, Thomson Reuters (Professional), Pyrmont, NSW.
McVeigh, A (ed.) 2014, The Queensland Law handbook: Your practical guide to the law, 12th edn, Caxton Legal Centre Inc, Brisbane.
White B, McDonald F, Willmott L 2014, Health Law in Australia, Law Book Thomson Reuters.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 45.00
Directed Study 60.00
Private Study 50.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 50 50 10 Sep 2019
ASSIGNMENT 2 50 50 16 Oct 2019

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximize their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the available weighted marks for the summative assessment items.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments must comply with the APA referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ library's referencing guide. This guide can be found at

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement. The course forms part of the Master of Health and Master of Nursing Program/s and is benchmarked against the internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access:
    Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at

  2. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in this course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect the same grades as those students who do possess them.