Topics

      Introduction General Legal Concepts Legal Basis for Nursing Legal Role of the Nurse Ethical Issues Ethical Responsibilities

Definition of Law
‡ Law is ³the sum total of rules and regulations by which the society is governed´. The law exists to regulate all persons.

Functions of the Law in Nursing 
It tells us about which nursing actions in the care of clients are legal  It distinguishes the responsibilities of the nurse from those of other healthcare providers  It helps establish the boundaries of independent nursing action  It assists in maintaining a standard of nursing practice by making nurses accountable to their actions

nurses should ensure the client¶s right to informed consent. and should be aware of issues related to delegation. Also nurses are required to report a nurse who is an chemically impaired. . As client advocates. identify and report violent behaviour and neglect of vulnerable clients.Selected Legal Aspects of Nursing Practice  Nurses need to know and apply legal aspects in their various roles.

 Consents are either express or implied .Informed Consent  Informed consent is an agreement by a client to accept a course of treatment or a procedure after being fully informed of it.

whose appointed guardians must give consent before minors are treated. . A third group is persons who are mentally ill.  The client must be given enough information to be the ultimate decision maker.What are the Major Elements and Exceptions of Informed Consent?  The consent must be voluntary  The consent must be given by a client who is capable and competent to understand. This means that certain population groups cannot provide consent such as children. A second group is persons who are unconscious or severely injured.

Introduction  Importance of Law to the Nurse  Nurses have more responsibility Increased numbers of Advanced Practice Nurses Law is there to assist in the decision-making process involved in nursing practice   .

 Law is there for the protection of nursing practice Law is there for the identification of the risk of liability  .

 Effects of Law on Nursing Practice   Legal Basis for Nursing Practice--Licensure Guidelines for Care ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Who is the Client--Age of Consent Emergency--Good Samaritan Act Abused Clients--Criminal Laws Use of Restraints Dying Patient¶s wishes--Advanced Directives .

 Guidelines for Care (Continued) ‡ Confidentiality--Invasion of Privacy ‡ Documentation ‡ Incident Reports  Role of Nurse as Witness ‡ Witness in Criminal Cases ‡ Expert Witness .

 Negligence & Malpractice Criminal Activity ‡ Assault ‡ Battery ‡ Diversion of Narcotics  .

The nurse¶s signature means:    The client gave voluntary consent after receiving enough information The client¶s signature is authentic The client appears competent to give consent .The Nurse¶s Role in Obtaining A Client¶s Informed Consent  The nurse is not responsible for explaining the medical or surgical procedure but for witnessing the client¶s signature on the consent form.

 Contemporary Legislative Issues    Prescriptive Authority Delegation to Unlicensed Personnel Unsafe Staffing in the Workplace  Contemporary Roles for Nurses .

society. or custom  .General Legal Aspects  Definition of Law  Comes from the word which means ³that which is laid down or fixed´ Law is a rule or standard of human conduct established & enforced by authority.

 Law is established for the welfare of society Law is not stagnant--changes when society¶s directs a change  .

Public Law  One type of law is Public Law which deals with an individual¶s relationship to the state  Sources include Constitutional. Administrative & Criminal  These Sources occur on both the Federal & State level .

 Constitutional Law  Set of basic laws that defines & limits the powers of government Nurse maintains rights as an individual Constitutional Rights. State Constitution   . Civil Rights.

Social Security Act. Drug & Cosmetic Act. Administrative Law  Developed by groups who are appointed to governmental administrative agencies Food. Nurse Practice Act  .

Criminal Codes (See Page 230)   . Criminal Law  Acts or offences against the welfare or safety of the public Controlled Substance Act.

Civil Law  The second type of law is Civil Law which deals with crimes against a person or persons in such legal matters as:    Contracts Torts Protective Reporting Law .

 Contract Law is the enforcement of agreements among private individuals  Elements of:    Promise Mutual Understanding Compensation .

 Employment Contracts is an example of contract law under civil law .

infraction of some public duty. . It is a civil wrong committed on a person or property stemming from either a direct invasion of some legal right of the person. Tort Law is the enforcement of duties & rights among independent of contractual agreements. or the violation of some private obligation by which damages accrue to the person.

 Examples of Tort Law include:        Negligence & Malpractice Assault & Battery False Imprisonment Restraints or Seclusion Invasion of Privacy Defamation Fraud .

improper discharge of professional duties. or failure to meet the standards of acceptable care which result in harm to another person  .Negligence & Malpractice  Terms  Liability is an obligation one has incurred or might incur thru any act or failure to act Malpractice refers to the behavior of a professional person¶s wrongful conduct.

 Terms    Negligence(breach of duty) is the failure of an individual to provide care that a reasonable person would ordinarily use in a similar circumstance Defendant is the person being sued Plaintiff is the party who initiates the lawsuit that seeks damages .

 Proof of Liability depends on:     Duty Breach of duty Injury Causation .

insulting or physically intimidating manner Battery is the touching of another person without the person¶s consent  . Assault & Battery  Assault is the intentional & unlawful offer to touch a person in an offensive .

 Protective/Reporting Laws are sometimes considered criminal laws based on state classification  Examples include:   Americans with Disabilities Act Good Samaritan Act .

Legal Basis for Nursing  Nurse Practice Act  Standards of Care .

safe.Legal Role of the Nurse  Provider of Service  Ensure that client receives competent. prudent person´ Supervise/evaluate that which has been delegated . & holistic care   Render care by ³standards of reasonable.