Nursing Practice and Legal Obligations

Nursing Practice and Legal Obligations Order Instructions:



Nursing Practice and Legal Obligations
Nursing Practice and Legal Obligations






Nursing Practice and Legal Obligations Sample Answer

Module One

Nursing practice is bounded by various legal obligations. These laws are in accordance with the nursing ethics which guides the nature of the conduct of nurses. In Australia, there is a specific nursing code of conduct that each nurse is expected to abide by in their operation. Moreover, the Parliament of Australia enacted a social act that nurses should operate within. The primary objectives of having to adhere to legal obligations in nursing is to protect all the individuals who are affected by the nursing practice and the nurses themselves. According to Day (2007), nurses often face situations that require quick and critical decision making. In such circumstances, Carryer,, (2013) argues that if a nurse fails to consider the overlaying rules regarding what to do, he or she may end up making a mistake that could be punishable by law. For instance, the Australian rights of terminally act introduced a law which allows active voluntary euthanasia. However, this may go against the law if a nurse carries out euthanasia with consent from the family members of the sick person and not that of the sick individual. Even though the nursing legal and ethical conduct laws are different, they operate through closely related frameworks. However, nursing legal responsibilities regarding mental health sometimes crashers with the ethical requirement of the nursing code.

Under my specialty which is mental health, the law has set out directives of when a person can be admitted (Carryer,, 2013). In the requirement, a single medical officer or nurse cannot fully ascertain that one needs to be admitted but it has to be agreed by several health officers. This legal requirement may be good in preventing unwarranted admissions, however, it sometimes contradicts with the nurses’ believe of offering help. Mental ill individuals might not always know that they are sick, there is the need for someone else to point that out. Before that happens, one cannot be treated for mental illness. This becomes problematic in a situation where there is an urgent need to treat a mentally ill person yet the legal procedure of ascertaining that the person is ill has not occurred. These individuals might be involved in self-destructive activities of which another person may not point out easily. Therefore, as per Doran, (2015), if the proper procedure for identifying their problems is followed, treatments can be administered when it is too late. My resolution is that I will offer consultative help to the individual first before administering any medication. This way, I will be able to offer to help them in advance and yet again still remain within the legal confines of the Australian nursing laws.

Nursing Practice and Legal Obligations References

Lennard-Palmer, L. (2012). The use of simulation for pediatric oncology nursing safety principles: Ensuring competent practice through the use of a mnemonic, chemotherapy roadmaps and case-based learning. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 27(3), 283-286.

Trinkoff, A.M., Geiger-Brown, J.M., Caruso, C.C., Lipscomb, J.A., Johantgen, M., Nelson, A.L., Sattler, B.A., & Selby, V.L. (2008). Chapter 39. Personal safety for nurses. Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Retrieved from:

Day, G. E. (2007). Legal issues for nursing students. Australian Health Review, 31(2), 315. Retrieved from

Carrier, J., Gardner, G., Dunn, S., & Gardner, A. (2013). The capability of nurse practitioners may be diminished by controlling protocols. Australian Health Review, 31(1), 108-15. Retrieved from

Doran, Evan, BA, Grad Dip Health Soc Sci, P., Fleming, Jennifer, BA, M.H.A., PhD., Jordens, Christopher, BA, M.P.H., PhD., Stewart, Cameron L, Bec, L.L.B., PhD., Letts, J., M. Bioeth, & Kerridge, Ian H, MPhil(Cantab), F.R.A.C.P., F.R.C.P.A. (2015). Managing ethical issues in patient care and the need for clinical ethics support. Australian Health Review, 39(1), 44-50. Retrieved from

 Module Two

The nursing code of conduct requires that patient information is kept private (Bourgeois, Negron & Harper, 2015). However, this view is to some extent contradicted by the ethics of care theory. According to the theory, as stated by Regard and Sited (2012), all health care moral agents should not be regarded as separate entities, however, should be allowed to share views and information regarding a particular patient of interest. These entities include clients, careers, institutions, and healthcare professionals. Therefore, like Mulligan, and Braunack-Mayer (2014) puts it, sharing information is important in medical practice. It offers a way to show the role of a nurse in handling information (Vezyridis & Timmons, 2015). In dealing with mental health cases, information sharing sometimes becomes difficult. This is because the affected individuals who are patients may not be in apposition to comprehend or receive any information regarding their status. For instance, according to the Australian terminal act which guides the health practice associated with treating mealy ill individuals, one can be perceived to be mentally ill and taken in for treatment even without their consent. Therefore, in such cases, it is not possible to share with them their health information, however, the information is given to careers. Apparently, this goes against the nursing ethics but remains in line with the consensus ethics believes that gives considerations to all individuals who are involved in healthcare (Freegard & Isted, 2012).

Dealing with mentally ill patients highlights the peak of the issues faced by healthcare professionals in striving to remain within their required ethical conduct of keeping patient information private and addressing caregivers (MacVane, 2015). This is because mental ill patients are like normal patients whose health has deteriorated to the extent that they cannot make their own decisions. In such situations, the decisions making process and concerns are passed on to the carers or rather the family members. The case becomes difficult if a patient is not admitted but is being treated from home. The carers deserve a right to know what is happening in order for them to provide adequate care in the absence of a health professional (Philip, McIver & Komesaroff, 2008). Therefore, in my practice specialty area of dealing with mentally ill individuals, it is not a question of whether or not to provide health information to the family, instead, it is more concerned with the particular type of information that is passed on to the family of a mentally ill person. This is in line with Philip, McIver and Komesaroff’s (2008) perception. According to them, family members and carers of mentally ill patients have the right to patient information. However, the information shared should only be what is relevant in helping them to offer better care for the sick person.

Nursing Practice and Legal Obligations References

Bourgeois, F.C., Negron, D.J., Harper, M.B. (2015). Preserving Patient Privacy and Confidentiality in the Era of Personal Health Records. Pediatrics, 135(5), e1125-e1127. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-3754

Gold, M., Philip, J., McIver, S., & Komesaroff, P. A. (2009). Between a rock and a hard place: exploring the conflict between respecting the privacy of patients and informing their carers. Internal Medicine Journal, 39(9), 582-587. doi:10.1111/j.1445-5994.2009. 02020.x

Mulligan, E., & Braunack-Mayer, A. (2014). Why protect confidentiality in health records? A review of research evidence. Australian Health Review, 28(1), 48-55. Retrieved from

Vezyridis, P., & Timmons, S. (2015). On the adoption of personal health records: Some problematic issues for patient empowerment. Ethics and Information Technology, 17(2), 113-124. doi:

MacVane Phipps, F. (2015). Clinical governance review 20.2. Clinical Governance, 20(2), 101-104. Retrieved from

Module Three

Mental health refers to the state of being in balance, being well emotionally, knowing yourself, and being able to handle the day to day activities appropriately (McGrath & Forrester, 2006). Therefore, it is challenging to make a person who is not mentally well achieve proper mental health. Interactions with carers and other individuals near mentally ill individuals revealed an overwhelming perception that mental health is associated with the improper state of mind only. Few individuals seemed to see it in a positive dimension. Often, it was difficult to see a distinction between mental health and mental illness. This perception seems to be so high that even mental patients seem to feel that they are not normal. They see themselves as being unfit for the society. As a result, it is difficult for most mentally ill individuals to accept their status. According to Fuller (2011), they tend to hang to the view that they are fine even if they see some changes in their characteristics. The fear of negative societal perception is too heavy for them to bear. The case is similar with some of mentally ill patient family members. They seem to hate the fact that one of their own does not have good mental health.

Health institutions and medical professionals face a difficult task of changing the perceptions of mental ill patients and their families regarding mental health. This has to include a psychological change of thoughts and status such as anxiety, depression, and stigma, in the health care system. As argued by Earnshaw, (2013), the society places stigma to people who are mentally ill. This makes healthy individuals shun way from interacting with those who are unwell mentally. As a result, most mentally ill persons suffer from loneliness which affects them so much. Therefore, the relationship that is established between mentally ill people and the care givers helps a lot. They at least get to feel a sense of care and acceptance. However, despite this care and the new formed relationship, most of them still feel that they have little chances of becoming normal or rather being considered normal by the larger society, there will always be some alienation away from them. However, in line with Meehan, (2013) arguments, concentrating on how to cure mental illnesses and giving adequate care to patients will help meet the complex needs of individuals who are unwell mentally.

Module Three Reflection.

This module involved learning the various ways that people perceive illness and other health related issues. It involved going through various health records, statistics, and publication that at some point explain the reactions that people shows towards a certain disease or an individual with that disease. This involved their perception of the danger a certain disease possess, thoughts on the ability of the current healthcare system in Australia to heal them, and their view on the causes of such diseases. Moreover, the studies during this module also evaluated the people’s perception of death and any possible effects death has on people (Alexander, Mettler, & Harvey, 2012).  The study was important because it was aimed at helping us understand various opinions of patients so that we could be able to form our own opinions. My case being mental health, the study was in particular aimed at helping me to understand the way people react to mental health. From then, I could then deduce if their reaction is helpful for the patient or not. Moreover, evaluating how the patient in my care react to health related issues and how distinctively those related to the patient also react was aimed to helping me as nurses understand the relationship that exist between carers and their patients. There are various lessons that I gained through the study. First, I was able to understand that there are various misconceptions about certain health illnesses that most people without certain levels of health literacy believe. For instance, in the case of mental health, most people feel that an unhealthy state of mind cannot cause death and discomfort to the affected individual (McGrath & Forrester, 2006). However, they affect the surrounding people. Therefore, it is like a burden to the care givers of such individuals (Fuller,, 2011). Also, I was able to distinguish the notion in most people that most mental sicknesses cannot be cured as they are some form of behavioural patterns. Overly, the module helped me to understand various differences that exist between the societal perception of diseases and how the disease means in a real sense. Therefore, there is a need to increase health literacy among people so as to enhance their understanding of various health issues and sicknesses.

Nursing Practice and Legal Obligations References

Alexander, J.A., Mettler, L.R.H.J.N., & Harvey, J. (2012). Patient–physician role relationships and patient activation among individuals with chronic illness. Health Services Research, 47(3pt1), 1201-1223. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01354.x

Earnshaw, V.A., Quinn, D.M., Kalichman, S.C., & Park, C.L. (2013). Development and psychometric evaluation of the Chronic Illness Anticipated Stigma Scale. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 36(3), 270-282. doi:10.1605/01.301-0022643876.2013

Meehan, Thomas, RN, BHSc, MPH, M. SocSc, PhD., & Robertson, Samantha, B. BusComm, B.A. Hons. (2013). The mental health nurse incentive program: Reactions of general practitioners and their patients. Australian Health Review, 37(3), 337-40. Retrieved from

McGrath, P. D., & Forrester, K. (2006). Ethico-legal issues in relation to end-of-life care and institutional mental health. Australian Health Review, 30(3), 286-97. Retrieved from

Fuller, J. D., Perkins, D., Parker, S., dew, L., Kelly, B., Roberts, R., Fragar, L. (2011). Building effective service linkages in primary mental health care: A narrative review part 2. BMC Health Services Research, 11, 66-72. doi:

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