LAW AND ETHICS PROGRAM FOR NURSES

Thriving in Nursing using a Legal and Ethical Framework

Many Nurses have had a fragmented education in relation to the law that frames Nursing practice and Nursing ethics. While they recognise they must adhere to legal and ethical standards the underpinning philosophies, structures and applications of the Australian legal system and rules of ethics are not well understood.

The purpose of this program is to provide the Nurse registered with AHPRA the opportunity to obtain the necessary knowledge regarding health law and ethics to confidently work within the current Health Care Industry.

  07 4151 3884

Click to skip to a specific module:

The Presenter

Pam has an extensive background in clinical nursing, education, and remote area Nursing both in Australia and overseas.


As a Lawyer and Clinician, this background is brought to her role as adjunct Lecturer to undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as Aboriginal Health Workers.

Pam is a Barrister at Bar (NSW) and a published author and her book “Law for Student Nurses: applied principles” is now in its third edition.


Designing undergraduate and postgraduate law courses for nurses and community health workers has been a major focus of her work. As a regular contributor to Nurses for Nurses network her blogs and webinars address issues of professional and legal governance that have relevance to nurses working in many environments.

Dr Pam Savage, RN, Dip N (Lon), BA, MHPEd, Dip Law, EdDoc

Enter your details to download a printable copy of the program

Download a Printable Copy

Every Nurse and midwife would consider themselves an ethical person. We have been taught to confirm to the social rules of our culture, family, religion, education and profession. Yet in a culturally diverse society the rules that govern one group may not be understood or adhered to by another. This can lead to conflict and the imposition of expectations by a dominant system on those who may be vulnerable or powerless.


In professional practice an individual’s beliefs may not represent the profession. We cannot apply rules arbitrarily because they are “what we were taught”. There are laws that entrench certain ethical standards and failing to adhere to these can lead to sanctions. The philosophical basis of ethics as a focus of study are complex and the historical roots reflect language and concepts that have at some time been deemed fair and just and at other times seriously flawed. Yet we need as professionals need to be able to demonstrate we are practising ethically so we need to explore and apply ethical reasoning to our practice.

Module Learning Outcomes:

Module One: Ethics

  •  Understand the basic principles of ethical philosophy 
  •  Relate ethical concepts to ethical belief systems 
  • Consider the evolution of western ethical belief systems in health care 
  • Apply legal and ethical standards to practice 

Topics Covered:

An Overview of Ethics

  • Acquire knowledge in ethical theories and principles
  • Define ethics and relate these to professional expectations
  • Relate cultural diversity to ethical considerations
  • Identify Australian legislation entrenching human rights

At the end of the session you will:

Bioethics and Professional Codes of Ethics

  • Appreciate the major principles of health professional ethics
  • Understand bioethical principles and relate these to Nursing issues
  • Consider the practical purpose codes serve 
  • Relate the Code of Ethics to Nursing practice 

At the end of the session you will:

Demonstrating Ethical Nursing Behaviours

  • Understand the potential professional consequences for failing ethical Nursing standards 
  • Recognise early warning signs of inappropriate ethical behaviour 
  • Promote equity and equality in care provision 
  • Relate Good Samaritan laws to Nursing ethical standards 

At the end of the session you will:

Identifying and Solving Ethical Problems

  • Develop and/or evaluate effective strategies for managing ethical dilemmas inherent in-patient care, the health care organization, and research
  • Understand Ethical Decision-Making Processes 
  • Review the relationship between ethics and legal governance 
  • Consider strategies to determine client’s values and beliefs 

At the end of the session you will:

Apply Ethical Reasoning Skills to Real World Situations 

  • Recognise the ethical issues common to specific patient populations or clinical settings
  • Consider the choices of action based on ethical principles
  • Develop and/or evaluate effective strategies for managing the ethical dilemmas inherent in-patient care
  • Understand ethical principles underpinning Nursing research

At the end of the session you will:

5 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

The legal and professional obligations that Nurses must satisfy can be a source of anxiety and confusion. Some areas of practice carry risks to the client or colleagues. Understanding the sources of control and the standards expected for Nurses can aid the clinician in their decision making and meeting legal requirements.

Module Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the sources of law that govern practice
  • Relate governance standards to practice
  • Recognise behaviours that may lead to complaints
  • Appreciate the consequences of failing to satisfy legal and governance standards

Topics Covered:

Accountability and Scope of Practice

  • Relate the laws governing scope of practice to your own work
  • Understand the rules of delegation and apply these to practice
  • Apply the principles of the National Framework to workplace decisions
  • Recognise the steps that must be undertaken to safely advance your own scope of practice

At the end of the session you will:

Delegation

  • Understand the legal obligations of registered Nurses when delegating aspects of Nursing care
  • Define the legal responsibilities for supervision
  • Apply the rules of appropriate delegation when giving direction for patient care
  • Implement protocols and policies that ensure patient needs and staff skills are matched

At the end of the session you will:

Boundary Crossings and Boundary Violations

  • Understand the concept of professional boundaries
  • Relate guidelines for maintaining professional boundaries to practice
  • Recognise the professional consequences of failing to maintain professional boundaries
  • Consider cases where failures have been established 

At the end of the session you will:

Racism and Bullying in Nursing

  • Recognise the way racism and bullying are entrenched in Nursing behaviour
  • Have the ability to discriminate between bullying and management comments
  • Recognise habits of speech and practice that may be interpreted as bullying
  • Understand professional standards that aim to prevent bullying behaviour

At the end of the session you will:

Documentation

  • Define the common forms of Nurse records and when these are utilised in legal proceedings
  • Implement evidence based strategies for structuring records
  • Relate legal principles to assess your own record keeping
  • Recognise causes of inadequate recording and take steps to avoid these

At the end of the session you will:

Clinical Handover

  • Articulate the purposes of clinical handover
  • Understand the risks of inadequate handover
  • Apply strategies to ensure data is structured and presented to promote effective care
  • List those data that should be included in handover

At the end of the session you will:

Mandatory Reporting

  • Understand the absolute requirements for mandatory reporting for the Nursing profession
  • Relate the legislative requirements for reporting children at risk and what those risks are
  • Discuss the protection the law provides for reporters and in what circumstances
  • Explain the sanctions that may be imposed for failing to report legally required information

At the end of the session you will:

Disciplinary Actions and Professional Findings

  • Understand the processes of investigation and professional hearings
  • Define the terms unsatisfactory conduct and professional misconduct
  • Know your rights in law should you be involved in a disciplinary action
  • Relate behaviours identified in cases to findings and sanctions

At the end of the session you will:

MODULE TWO: Professional Governance and 

Regulation

8 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

" Loved Dr Pam and the fact that she kept the language simple and didn't just rattle off the legal jargon. A very heavy subject was made interesting as well as informative with her wonderful presentation style and I found myself smiling in parts at her dry humour. Thank you Dr Pam. "

Joan

General Practice Nurse

"[Pam is an] excellent presenter, easy to understand, to the point and in language easily understood ."

Jan

Nurse Educator

"...always enjoy Pams delivery. She gives examples and divulges extra information other than just reading from her notes. Well done, interesting talk. "

Antonia

Registered Nurse

One of the major areas of the common law is civil law. The rules of procedure, jurisdiction and the types of cases that can be heard and appealed are complex. The rights of the individual citizen are often supported by the civil law. There are numerous torts that can be actionable. In relation to health matters most have little relevance. Some torts however have an increasing importance such as defamation, others have established legal rules that must be adhered to.

Module Learning Outcomes:

MODULE THREE: Common Law Torts

  • Relate civil law rules to actionable torts
  • Understand how habits of practice and communication may open the way for actions
  • Relate human rights principles to legislation governing practice
  • Examine case findings giving direction for practice

Topics Covered:

Defamation and Social Media

  • Understand the concepts of Defamation and Slander
  • Relate the rules of defamation to actionable behaviours
  • Link the use of Social Media to defamation and slander
  • Apply legal findings to social media risks

At the end of the session you will:

Consent and Trespass

  • Understand the legal rules for consent
  • Relate the Tort of Trespass to workplace situations
  • Identify the legal risks of emergency situations
  • Recognise how guardianship legislation relates to legal consent

At the end of the session you will:

Confidentiality and Privacy Law

  • Define confidentiality and privacy
  • Explore situations that negate expected standards
  • Understand the privacy principles entrenched in Australian law
  • Appreciate the particular rules governing patient privacy and confidentiality

At the end of the session you will:

3 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

The civil law tort of negligence is the most likely cause of action against health practitioners. In spite of the passage of Civil Liability Legislation in every state the principles establishing whether the case is actionable and those establishing the expectations the court imposes on a defendant remain.

Module Learning Outcomes:

MODULE FOUR: Common Law Tort of Negligence

  • Examine the civil law concepts underpinning negligence
  • Understand the legal principles of negligence
  • Apply the elements of negligence to practice
  • Examine case findings giving direction for practice

Topics Covered:

The Law of Negligence

  • Understand the legal definition of negligence
  • Relate legislation to common law principles of negligence
  • Define the elements of negligence
  • Examine case findings of negligent Nursing behaviour

At the end of the session you will:

Duty of Care

  • Relate the legal concept of duty to practice
  • Understand the rules governing legal and professional delegation of duty
  • Recognise situations where there is an actual or potential failure of duty
  • Discuss the professional standards that impose duty of care

At the end of the session you will:

Applying the Elements of Negligence for Safe Practice

  • Relate elements of negligence to practice situations
  • Recognise the sources determining standards expected of a professional
  • Appreciate circumstances where actions are not deemed liable even if harm occurs
  • Explore cases providing examples of professional negligence

At the end of the session you will:

3 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

It is rare that a health worker “intends” to commit a crime, but it can happen in the course of their work. Deliberate or reckless behaviours that our society considers “outrageous” or beyond the moral standards of society can be criminal acts and as such these will be investigated by the police and if sufficient evidence is gathered, be prosecuted in court.

Module Learning Outcomes:

MODULE FIVE: Criminal Law

  • Understand the sources of Criminal Law in Australia
  • Identify those crimes that may occur in health settings
  • Relate concepts of Criminal Negligence and manslaughter to health practice
  • Explore those crimes that Nurses need to report

Topics Covered:

Crimes Against Persons

  • Examine the role of the Nurse in relation to caring for victims of rape
  • Understand the health professional’s role in relation to suspected assault and abuse
  • Know the law in relation to female genital mutilation
  • Appreciate the various state criminal laws that have relevance to practice 

At the end of the session you will:

Crimes and Health Care

  • Understand the policies that underpin Australian criminal law
  • Define the terms, criminal negligence, manslaughter and murder
  • Explore cases against health practitioners that give direction for practice
  • Link legislation governing health where failures in practice are deemed criminal

At the end of the session you will:

2 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

Click to see when the Modules will be delivered online via our e-Seminar platform

Online Modules

Every State and Territory has had a coroner since Federation. Each State had similar legislation governing when, why and how a coronial inquest must be undertaken. Inquests are held in around 20 per cent of Coroner's Inquiries therefore there is a real chance a Nurse may be called to be a witness. This is a source of anxiety as the coronial system, procedures and requirements are relatively unknown. 

Module Learning Outcomes:

MODULE SIX: Coronial Law

  • Know the legislation governing the role of the coroner
  • Understand the rules for reporting deaths to the coroner
  • Relate coronial inquest requirements to clinical practice
  • Recognise the obligations of being a coronial witness

Topics Covered:

Being a Witness in a Coronial Inquest

  • Understand policies and procedures of coronial inquires
  • Apply strategies and preparation for a witness called to an inquiry
  • Identify professional obligations and responsibilities for a coronial inquest
  • Link coronial findings to practice situations

At the end of the session you will:

Role of the Coroner and Reportable Deaths

  • Relate legislation governing coronial investigations to practice situations
  • Understand who in law can verify death
  • Link issues of reportable deaths to clinical situations
  • Recognise the legal obligations of the Nurse in a coronial investigation

At the end of the session you will:

2 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

Legislation varies in each state in relation to children and particular laws aimed at providing protection from exploitation, abuse and neglect. Legislation specifies obligations imposed on parents and carers and these laws reflect the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and many of the principles within that Convention are embedded within child protection legislation.

Module Learning Outcomes:

MODULE SEVEN: Children of the Law

  • Link the protective and welfare aims of child protection to practice
  • Recognise the legislative and ethical obligations health workers undertake
  • Explore the dilemmas inherent in protecting children
  • Acknowledge the clinical realities of caring for children at risk

Topic Covered:

Children of the Law

  • Understand legislation imposing mandatory reporting in each state
  • Relate legal concepts for minors to issues of consent and confidentiality
  • Recognise the differences between federal and state jurisdictions for children
  • Apply legal doctrine to emergency and futile situations involving

At the end of the session you will:

1 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

Everyone is aware of population changes where the majority of Nursing clients will be seniors. For those who currently work with the aged population the demands of funding, resources and client expectations are well understood. For those working in acute environments there are pressures created by extended stay and lack of community placements. Too often these pressures can create negative attitudes and ill-considered comments that can be interpreted by seniors and their families as discriminatory and unprofessional.

Module Learning Outcomes:

MODULE EIGHT: Aged and Palliative Care

  • Relate clinical and community standards to aged care
  • Appreciate the range of protections for seniors in Australia
  • Acknowledge the problems of equitable care provision for seniors
  • Explore duties and ethical requirements imposed on health staff

Topics Covered:

Elder Abuse and Restraints

  • Understand the legal and social requirements in protecting the aged in Australia
  • Recognise the signs of elder abuse and reporting requirements
  • Understand and address causal factors that underpin aggression towards aged clients
  • Relate government guidelines for restraint use to clinical practice

At the end of the session you will:

Ageism and Legislation

  • Understand some of the social and political expectations for protection of aged Australians
  • Appreciate the laws protecting the aged and vulnerable client
  • Acknowledge the standards that give direction to Nurses and carers of the aged client
  • Relate the expectations of older Australians to current practice

At the end of the session you will:

2 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

The critical contracts that relate to Nursing are those that the client enters into when seeking care and our own contract of employment. Failures to satisfy client care contracts have led to court actions. Confusion about the rights and obligations under legislation and the common law can lead to conflicts over employment and of course dismissal from employment. The requirement under AHPRA to hold personal indemnity insurance is another source of confusion.

Module Learning Outcomes:

MODULE NINE: Contracts and Insurance

  • Introduce legislation that creates legal insurance obligations
  • Explain types of professional insurance that exist
  • Examine risks of failing to maintain professional insurance cover
  • Introduce and explain principles of contracts of work

Topic Covered:

Contracts and Insurance

  • Define the rights of employers and employees under common law
  • Explore cases identifying breach of contract in care situations
  • Understand the types of insurance and legal requirements for practicing Nurses
  • Relate the doctrine of vicarious liability to professional insurance requirements

At the end of the session you will:

1 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

Nurses working in mental health have an extensive understanding of their legal requirements in relation to patient rights and voluntary and involuntary admissions. The legislation in each state is clear about protecting rights and the procedures that must be followed when assessing and treating a mentally ill client, these are not well understood by Nurses outside of the specialty. The legislation giving direction and entrenching client rights will be the focus of this session.

Module Learning Outcomes:

MODULE TEN: Mental Health Legislation

  • Identify legal obligations imposed by legislation
  • Explore practice behaviours that meet legislative requirements
  • Relate human rights principles to practice situations
  • Examine cases which highlight professional failures

Topics Covered:

Mental Health Legislation

At the end of the session you will:

1 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

  • Understand the rules governing assessment and treatment for the mentally ill client
  • Relate professional standards to the care and management of the client
  • Recognise the legal protections and procedures available to clients
  • Explore cases that demonstrate issues that arise in the care of the mentally ill client

The laws governing drug administration are not always the same as local policies and this can cause frustration and confusion. Further every Nurse is aware of the risks and problems in medication management. Failures have led to negligence claims and disciplinary actions. Errors are a fact of life and managing them is part of the Nurse’s role.

Module Learning Outcomes:

MODULE ELEVEN: Drug Administration and

  • Identify legislative and professional rules for drug administration
  • Explore clinical practice situations that give rise to confusion
  • Relate workplace risks and practices to professional liability
  • Examine proposed solutions for risk management in practice

Topic Covered:

Drug Administration and Cases of Professional Failure

  • Know the legal rules underpinning drug administration
  • Understand the personal traits and system problems linked to errors
  • Appreciate the classes of drugs that cause the most severe adverse effects
  • Apply current approaches in naming that lessen the risk of administering incorrect drugs

At the end of the session you will:

2 CPD Hours | Mode of Delivery: Online

Risk Management

  • Explain risk, risk management and the context for risk management
  • Relate relevant legislation to the processes of risk management
  • Develop skills to assess, evaluate and prioritise risks
  • Understand the consequences of risk and consider risk treatment options

At the end of the session you will:

Practice Errors

Send us your enquiry

Still have questions?

© 2018  Nursing CPD Institute, Inc. All Rights Reserved.