Nurs A250 Legal and Ethical Aspects of Nursing

Jan Beckstrand, RN, PhD
Rm 461

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Objectives: This course focuses on the legal and ethical rights, responsibilities, and obligations of the practicing nurse in a changing health environment. The Indiana Nurse Practice Act and the ANA Code for Nurses are used as guides to examine implications for legal and ethical decision making in patient care situations selected from actual work setting.

The student will

  1. Discuss implications of the changing health environment for the role of the nurse in the delivery of care within and beyond the acute care setting.
  2. Determine the nurse's individual accountability within the legal scope of nursing practice.
  3. Clarify individual accountability for ethical nursing practice.

Lecture, Guest Lecturers, Class Discussion, Values Clarification, Diary-Journal.
None required. Students are required to read text listed for each class, to explore articles and books of their choosing, and to self-select and read at least 4 sources listed under sections containing the words "Readings" or "Texts" on the Web Page.
Attendance and Class Participation25%

77-79 C+
73-76 C
70-72 C-
67-69 D+
63-66 D
60-62 D-

Passing Grade: 73 Points.
Attendance is required. If a student must be absent, a written make-up assignment is required. Students should consult with the instructor about the assignment. Students will be penalized 10 points for each absence for which a make-up assignment is not submitted.
Due at class 4 (October 4) and class 8 (Novemer 29).
The purpose of the diary is
  1. to show that you recognize ethical and legal problems in your practice
  2. to show that you understood what you read in your required self-selected reading
  3. to show how it affected your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your nursing practice.

The Diary-Journal is a log of the ethical/legal aspects of your practice with patients during the semester. It contains 4 things:
  1. Choose one of the patient that you care for as a student in your clinical courses per week.
    For each of these patients, identify at least one ethical or legal issue related to their nursing care and describe it fully in your journal, giving the relevant details of the legal or ethical nursing problem in the patient's situation.
  2. As you read each of the 4 required self-selected readings, in your journal state what you read and the date when you read it. Then give a summary of what you read and write down how it affected your thoughts, feelings, values or actions in your practice with a specific patient during the following week.
  3. At the end of your journal, choose 1 of the nursing ethical or legal problems that you identified in one of the patient situations that you have written about in your journal. Then carefully describe the legal or moral responsibilities, rights, and obligations that believe you and others have in the situation. Give citations from additional readings to support your answer.
  4. Say what you have learned from this experience.
This paper will be graded on the basis of completeness (25%), clarity and depth of insight and analysis (75%)
Assigned Readings:
Class 1

Moral Decision Making
by Chris MacDonald, M.A., Graduate Student Research Associate,
U.B.C. Centre for Applied Ethics ,
A Framework for Ethical Decision-Making
by Michael MacDonald, Maurice Young Chair in Applied Ethics and
Director of the University of British Columbia's Centre for Applied Ethics
Class 2

American Hospital Association's Patients' Bill of Rights
American Nurses' Association Code of Ethics
Class 3
Sections I and II from Introduction to Ethics- Syllabus and Lectures Notes
Class 4

Case Consultation in Medical Ethics,
University of Chicago Hospitals' Policy on Informal Case Consultation in Nursing Ethics, and
University of Chicago Hospitals' Policy on Formal Case Consultation in Nursing Ethics
Class 5

Indiana Nurses Practice Act,
Staff Rights Not to Participate in an Aspect of Patient Care at Univeristy of Chicago and
American Nurses' Association Code of Ethics
Class 6Indiana Nurses Practice Act
Class 7Indiana Nurses Practice Act
Class 8Indiana Nurses Practice Act