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Nursing ethical and law


The intended learning outcomes are that on completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Accurately describe and apply legislation/case law within healthcare.
2. Interpret and apply current health and social care policy.
3. Analyse and address ethical challenges relating to peoples choices and decision-making about their care, including vulnerable people across the lifespan.
4. Appraise the nurses role in managing issues of law and social policy.


During this module you will be able to explore and develop your knowledge and understanding of;

Law & Ethics
Various examples of models of ethical decision making, empowering choice. Imparting information to empower children and young people, mental health service users, learning disability service users and adult service users in making decisions.
Respecting Human Rights
Refusal of treatment, dignity, weighing best interests for incapacitated patients, consent for adults, consent for children.
Contemporary and relevant health and social care law and policy relating to all fields of practice, to include NSFs
Such as Children Act 1989, Children Act 2004, Mental Capacity Act 2005, Mental Health Act 1983, Mental Health Act 2007, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2008. Advocacy and incapacity as theoretical concepts.
Assignment Brief:
The student will write a 2500 word (excluding references) essay. Select a service user or child and family that you have worked with in your previous practice placements, ideally this would be over a period of time not a one off interaction. The assignment will draw upon relevant ethical theoretical concepts and healthcare/ social policy underpinning the individuals care. Key to this work is an analysis of your (the nurses) role in supporting decision making for the people in your care. Appropriate references must be evident with national and /or professional guidelines to support your clinical judgements and shared decision making processes.

Assignment focus:
The essay needs to clearly focus on one case the student has cared for in clinical practice. The assignment should offer a clear structure that is logical, sequential, and systematically progressive in nature.

The following framework is a guide that you might find useful to organise your assignment. The sub-headings are:
1. Introduction
2. Background/ Short case summary
3. Identification of key ethical issues involved in this persons/childs care supported by underpinning theory
4. Interpret and apply current health and social care policy
5. Appraise (your), the nurses, role in this individuals care acknowledging resources to support decision making
6. Conclusion
7. References
The context and content should reflect a contrast and balance of ideas, and reasoning to support the module learning outcomes:

2. Interpret and apply current health and social care policy.
3. Analyse and address ethical challenges relating to peoples choices and decision-making about their care, including vulnerable people across the lifespan.
4. Appraise the nurses role in managing issues of law and social policy.

Please do not breach confidentiality by identifying the name of the person/ child or any family members or the location of the clinical setting. Change personal details to protect confidentiality and state this in your introduction. Any contravention of confidentiality will result in an automatic fail.

Suggested assignment guidelines/structure:
You may wish to consider the following assignment guide to help you with planning the writing up of your case study. The number of words suggested is only a guide for each segment.


The introduction begins with a general statement to introduce the main subject area and to set the context for the discussion. The introduction offers the reader a broad background of information into your key ethical challenges and outlines all the ideas you are going to present in the assignment, such as:
A statement/ definition of the importance of the topic and the context ,background of and care delivery
Introduce how you will structure the work linked to the learning outcomes
Introduce the service user/child you have chosen
Include statements dealing with confidentiality were necessary

Suggested word count

Background information refers to a concise summary of the clinical & wider detail of this persons care which is relevant to the issues that you later discuss
Physical health
Mental health
Family and other relationships
Social circumstances- employment, religious/spiritual beliefs, sexuality etc..
Age and development (where appropriate)

Impact of all of the above on ability to make decisions for self.

Key ethical challenges
The identification of the key ethical challenges starts the main body of the assignment where your paragraphs will develop your discussion and ideas to demonstrate your knowledge of the topic, by including relevant evidence, analyse and evaluate your material, such as:-
Mental capacity- how much input did the person/child have into decision making and why?
What were the challenges to the person/child receiving care in making treatment choices?
Were the individuals human rights respected and if not, why not?
Was there conflict between treating teams and the person/child and/or family/significant others regarding preferred options for care

Please consider the learning outcomes when writing your report. Thread your preferred ethical models/principles from the module as a framework for aiding decision making and identifying key issues regarding this person/childs treatment. Consider local/national resources available to support ethical practice and professional guidance in relevant areas of practice as outlined in the module or experienced in practice.


Interpret current health and social policy
Identify which health and social policy was relevant to this case . For example you may consider National Service Frameworks, Person-centred planning, Advance Care Planning, DNACPR, Health and Social Care Act (2012), Codes of Practice for the MCA,( 2007), DOLS (2007), Mental Health Act (1983 & 2007), Children Act (1989 & 2004), Human Rights Act (1998) .
Evaluate the impact that current health and social policy had on this person/childs care.
Show understanding of whether local/national strategies for supporting health/social care worked in this instance and why.
Support all of your points with relevant policy, legislation or documents (reference to support claims).
Appraise the nurses role in managing these issues
Consider the role of the nurse within concepts of advocacy, assessment of capacity and professional obligations/duties to do so.
Are there limitations to the nurses role within decision making?
How can conflict best be resolved?
What resources exist to support nurses and others in managing complex ethical, legal and policy issues?
Relate the above to your chosen person/childs care and reflect on professional/national guidance to support practitioners in your field and draw from others where appropriate.
You are not required to add any new information. You are summarising what you have discussed and reiterate some of the key points.

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