RNSG 1341: Common Concepts of Adult Health

Module 2: Legal & Ethical Aspects of Nursing

Module Objectives:

Utilizing critical thinking and the nursing process, the student is expected to:

  1. Define concepts of law relevant to health care and nursing practice
    • civil, torts (intentional and unintentional),
    • contract, criminal, common, procedural, public, and substantive.
  2. Give examples of these torts:
    • crime,
    • fraud,
    • defamation,
    • assault,
    • battery,
    • libel,
    • slander,
    • false imprisonment,
    • invasion of privacy.
  3. Distinguish between malpractice and negligence.
  4. Describe commonalities and differences of Nurse Practice Acts across states.
  5. Describe the legal regulation of nursing practice: accreditation, licensure, certification.
  6. Examine the following components of the Nursing Practice Act & Rules and Regulations of the Texas Board of Nursing.
  7. List/define other laws affecting nursing practice.
    • OSHA
    • Controlled substance acts
    • ADA
    • Good Samaritan laws
  8. Discuss strategies for safeguarding practice. (preventing lawsuits) see powerpoint presentation ‘Pitfalls of Malpractice” below.
  9. Define:
    • accountability,
    • advocacy,
    • duty of care,
    • duty to protect,
    • duty to warn,
    • gross negligence,
    • privileged communication,
    • informed consent and right to refuse treatment (what are the elements of informed consent; who is responsible for informed consent and what is the nurse's role)
  10. Apply the steps for making ethical decisions in case studies.
Learning Activities: 
Review module objectives.

Read: Harkreader, H. and Hogan, M.A., and Thobaben, M. (2007) 3rd Edition. Fundamentals of Nursing: Caring and Clinical Judgment, St. Louis: Saunders-Elsevier.

  • Harkreader Second Edition: Chapter 2;
  • Harkreader, Third Edition: Chapter 2
  • Excerpts from the Nursing Practice Act and Rules & Regulations (links in objectives 4 & 5) (Note:  To view the full web version of the Nursing Practice Act or to download a printable version Nursing Practice Act Adobe Acrobat PDF pdf , click here)

Review module objectives and check for knowledge gaps. Consider these questions

Complete the module quizzes: "Legal" and "Ethical Standards"