RNSG 1413: Foundations for Nursing Practice

Module 2: Legal & Ethical Aspects of Nursing

Module Objectives:

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

  1. Distinguish between laws affecting nursing practice and a professional code of ethics.
    • Sources of law: statutory, administrative, and judicial law
    • Code of ethics
      • Rationale for having a code of ethics
      • ANA code of ethics: Primary values of the profession:
        • respect for human dignity,
        • nurses’ primary commitment to the patient and
        • nurses’ protection of patient privacy
  2. Distinguish between the purpose of the state board of nursing and professional nursing organizations.
  3. Examine components of the Nursing Practice Act & Rules and Regulations of the Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas (answer these questions):
    • State the mission of the State Board of Nurse Examiners. Regulation of nursing practice and educationRead the definition of professional nursing (scroll down to Sec. 301.002 "definitions". Do you think you can call yourself a nurse in the State of Texas, if you do not have a license to practice? In other words do we have a mandatory nurse practice act?
  4. Discuss " Standards of Practice" for all nurses and their relationship to expected behaviors of nursing students.
  5. Discuss these elements of a client's rights.
    • self-determination
    • autonomy
    • confidentiality
  6. Distinguish between the following terms: ethics, values, morals.
  7. Discuss factors which impact the formation of values.
  8. Describe the process of values clarification and its value to professional nursing practice.
  9. Apply principles of ethics to situations in nursing practice:
    • autonomy,
    • beneficence,
    • confidentiality,
    • nonmaleficence,
    • fidelity,
    • justice,
    • veracity
  10. Discuss the nature of an ethical dilemma
  11. Distinguish between guides for addressing ethical issues as they arise in nursing practice:
    • Processes for ethical decision making
    • Resolving ethical dilemmas
    • Advanced Directives
    • Medical Power of Attorney for Health Care
      • Ethics committee
      • Ethics forum

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)
  • Learning Guide
Post responses to ONE of the 3 "Ethical Situations" on the discussion board by the end of the week. Use the Communication button > Group pages > discussion board). Read the posted responses for the remaining situations and suggest an alternative approach to at least one posted response. Post your first response early in the week to allow time for your classmates to respond to you.

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

Complete the module quizzes: "Legal" and "Ethical Standards" and The Legal Role of the Nursing Student" - Exercise