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Law is the result of the minimum level of
shared values or ethics of a community of
people. Law and ethics are related. Nurses
may act in ways that are legal but not
ethical. Both law and ethics are related to
Law means a body of rules to guide human
Laws are “rules of conduct, established
and enforced by authority, which
prohibit extremes in behaviour so that
one can live without fear for oneself or
- By Sullivan and Decker, 2001
1. Intentional torts
Invasion of Privacy
Defamation of character
2. Unintentional torts
Importance of Law to the Nurse:
Nurses have more responsibility
Increased numbers of Advanced Practice
Law is there to assist in the decision-making
process involved in nursing practice
Law is there for the protection of nursing
Law is there for the identification of the risk
1. Signatures Are Golden
3. Report It or Tort It
4. Rights to Privacy
5. You’re doing WHAT?
Failure to use equipment in a
Failure to assess and monitor and
failure to communicate .
Failure to document .
Failure to act as a patient advocate
Early discharge .
Advances in technology .
Increased autonomy and responsibility.
Better-informed consumers .
Expanded legal definitions of liability.
HIPAA(Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act of 1996) -HIPAA defines
numerous offenses relating to health care
and sets civil and criminal penalties for
them. It also creates several programs to
control fraud and abuse within the health
EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and
Active Labor Act ) –patients treated under
EMTALA may not be able to pay or have
insurance or other programs pay for the associated
costs, they are legally responsible for any costs
incurred as a result of their care under civil
law.Patients whose advance intention it is to
receive medical care and fail to pay cannot be held
criminally liable unless they intentionally and
knowingly provide false identifying information to
Electronichealth record - An electronic health
record (EHR) is an evolving concept defined as a
systematic collection of electronic health
information about individual patients or
Failure or damages caused during installation
or utilization of an EHR system has been feared as
a threat in lawsuits . Similarly, it's important to
recog-nize that the implementation of electronic
health records carries with it significant legal risks.
Information for patients
Choice of providers and plans
Access to emergency services
Taking part in treatment decisions
Respect and non-discrimination
Confidentiality (privacy) of health information
Complaints and appeals
Provider of Service
Ensure that client receives competent, safe, &
Render care by “standards of reasonable,
Supervise/evaluate that which has been
Documentation of care
Maintain clinical competency
A number of legal issues are related to
nursing practice, including licensing, nurse
practice acts, and standards of care. However,
in these litigious times, the issue that most
concerns those considering a career in nursing
are negligence and malpractice.