Legal/Ethical Study Guide
1.) Nurse Practice Acts
3 Origins of legal guidelines for nursing:
1) Statutory Law - Elected legislative bodies such as state
legislatures and the US Congress create these laws.
- Nurse Practice Acts .Describe and define the legal
boundaries of nursing practice within each state.
- Standards Of Care – Provide the minimum
acceptable nursing care.
- Establish educational req’s for nurses
- Distinguish between nursing and medical practice.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA 1990) Federal
statute enacted by US Congress that was enacted to provide
guidelines that protect the rights of handicapped
2) Regulatory Law(Administrative Law) – Reflect
decisions made by administrative bodies such as State Boards of
Nursing when they pass rules and regulations
- An example of regulatory law is the duty to report
incompetent or unethical nursing conduct to the State
Board of Nursing.
3) Common Law – Results from judicial decisions made in
courts when individual legal cases are decided.
- Examples include law on informed consent and the clients
right to refuse treatment. However, the nurse most
frequently encounters common laws involving negligence
Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (1986)
- Hospital must treat and stabilize patient before they can discharge. Mental Health Parity Act (1996)
- Forbids health plans from placing lifetime or annual limits on mental
health coverage that are less generous than those placed on medical or
surgical benefits. Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (1987)
- Gave residents in certified nursing homes right to be free of unnecessary and
inappropriate restraints. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (1996)
* Provides rights to clients and protects employees. Protects individuals from losing their health insurance when changing jobs. * Privacy – Right of clients to keep information about their selves from being disclosed. * Confidentiality – Deals with how health care providers treat private information
2.) Statutory Issues from the State Level
Licensure – The requirements for licensure vary among states, but most states
have minimum education requirements and require a licensure examination.
- Hearings for suspension or revocation of a license do not occur in court.
Good Samaritan Laws – Laws enacted to encourage health care
professionals to assist in emergencies. Laws usually limit liability and offer legal
immunity for nurses.
Public Health Laws – State legislatures enact statutes under the health code,
which describes the reporting laws for communicable diseases, school
immunizations, and laws intended to promote health and reduce risks in
communities. Purpose is for protection of the publics health, advocating for the
rights of people, regulating health care and health care financing, and ensuring
professional accountability for the care provided.
The Uniform Determination of Death Act – States that health care
providers can use either the cardiopulmonary definition of death (irreversible
cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions) or the Whole Brain definition (
irreversible cessation of functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem) to
Physician –Assisted Suicide –
Oregan Death With Dignity Act – First statute that permitted physician
or health care provider-assisted suicide.
Compassion in Dying vs Washington and Quill vs Vacco – Raise
challenges to state statutes that made assisting a suicide a criminal act in
Washington and New York Respectively.
Washington vs Glucksberg – Supreme Court ruled that there is no
fundamental right to assisting suicide. In doing so did not prevent
the states from legislating legalized assisted suicide.
3.) Unintentional Torts...
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