Nursing practice and Law

Address the following five (5) elements and how they relate to the nursing practice (in
Australia).100-110 words for each elements.

  1. LAW
  2. ETHICS
  3. STANDARDS OF PRACTICE
  4. SOCIAL MEDIA
  5. PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES.
    Consider the code of professional conduct for nurses, code of ethics for nurses, standards
    for practice: Enrolled nurse, the nursing and midwifery board of Australia etc.

Law and ethics

Nursing practice and Law
In Australia, there are two regulations under which the nurses and midwives practice.
These include a) self regulation and b) statutory regulations. Example of statutory regulation is
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) that regulates nurses and midwives
under health practitioner regulation National Law (2009). The self regulated standards/ laws are
those determined by nursing professionals and have no legally binding regulation or force. In
general, nursing practice spans beyond the stereotypical positions as it touches every aspects of
life. This implies that nursing that there is a significant relationship between nursing and the
worlds of law. For instance, the issues of confidentiality, ethics, consent, and health policy are
nursing aspects that have legal component. In addition, nurses are also trained to be patients and
healthcare advocates, and especially for the vulnerable populations. Therefore, nursing
relationship with law is that nurse’s needs to understand the legal structural issues in healthcare,
regulations and policies needed and possess skills that will enable them address these issues
using legal problem-solving lens (Nursing & Midwifery Council, 2014).

Law and ethics

2

Nursing practice and Ethics
Ethics have an integral part in nursing practice. Nursing practice is mainly concerned to
the welfare of the injured, sick, and vulnerable individuals in the society. Nursing not only
encompasses disease prevention, suffering and restoration of health but also adheres to moral
norms that promote social justice. Nurses in Australia are guided by the Code of Ethics whose
purpose is to develop fundamental ethical values and standards to which the nursing profession is
committed to. The framework acts as a reference point from which the nurses reflect about their
conduct, and guides in ethical decision making processes. This guiding framework emphasizes
for quality care for every person in the society, respect, cultural competence, ethical management
of patients information, access to quality care for everyone and establishing a socio-economical
and socio-ecological environment that promote community’s wellbeing (Nursing and Midwifery
Board of Australia, 2014).
Standards of practice
The core standard of nursing practice in Australia is that the midwives and nurses must
be registered as per the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). In Australia, the
professional standards that define the nurse’s practice and behavior include code of ethics,
conduct, competency standards and guide to professional boundaries. The domains of nursing
standards of care includes provision of professional, ethical, quality care, reflective as well as
analytical practice. The nurses are expected to practice in a way that ensures that people’s rights
are protected. They are also expected to reflect on evidence based practice in order to deliver
care (assessment to health education) informed by evidence, and within quality and safety

Law and ethics

3
guidelines. They are also expected to engage in professional development practices (Nursing and
Midwifery Board of Australia, 2014).
Social Media and nursing practice
Modern communications methods are transforming the way people interact with one
another. In Australia, nurses are adept of using social media to connect, be creative and to
become more efficient in their work. The nurses are embracing opportunities offered by social
media for research purposes, assessment, diagnosis and implementation processes. However,
when using social media, nurses are expected to adhere to the National law and Nurses code of
ethics and standard of practice. This includes complying with privacy obligations and
confidentiality such as avoiding discussing patients, pictures of procedures, or sensitive patient
information without consent or presenting biased or unsubstantiated claims (Casella, Mills, &
Usher, 2014).
Nursing professional boundaries
A nurse has therapeutic relationship with their patients which include great deal of
patient’s personal information. Nursing standards of practice expects that nurses will act in the
best interest of the patient and will provide care based on their specific needs. In this context,
professional boundaries refer to the limits in which the nurse protects the space between
professional power and patient’s vulnerability. This is because there are borderlines that
distinguish between professional, non-professional and therapeutic relationship between the
patient and the nurse. Crossing these boundaries indicates that the nurse is misusing his or her
professional power. In Australia, nurses professional boundaries is guided by nursing
professional code of conduct, nursing practice standards and code of ethics. If a nurse

Law and ethics

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experiences any boundary-crossing behavior, they should seek counsel from their supervisors
and colleagues. This is because care setting, client needs, community influences, patient’s age,
gender and nature or therapy being provided (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, 2014).

Law and ethics

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References
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2014). Standards for practice.
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2014). Professional boundaries.
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2014). Code of ethics.
Casella, E., Mills. J., & Usher, K. (2014). Social media and nursing practice: changing the
balance between the social and technical aspects of work. The Australian Journal of
Nursing Practice, Scholarship and research. 21 (2); p 121-126

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