The laws of nursing

Online Modules Specialty Is Mental Health

Module One
Nursing practice is bounded by various legal obligations. These laws are in
accordance with the nursing ethics which guides the nature of conduct of nurses. In Australia,
there is a specific nursing code of conduct that each nurse is expected to abide by in their
operation. Moreover, the Parliament of Australia enacted a social act that nurses should
operate within. The primary objectives of having to adhere to legal obligations in nursing is
to protect all the individuals who are affected by the nursing practice and the nurses
themselves. According to Day (2007), nurses often face situations that require quick and
critical decision making. In such circumstances, Carryer,, (2013) argues that if a nurse
fails to consider the overlaying rules regarding what to do, he or she may end up making a
mistake that could be punishable by law. For instance, the Australian rights of terminally act
introduced a law which allows active voluntary euthanasia. However, this may go against the
law if a nurse carries out euthanasia with consent from the family members of the sick person
and not that of the sick individual. Even though the nursing legal and ethical conduct laws are
different, they operate through closely related frameworks. However, nursing legal
responsibilities regarding mental health sometimes crashers with the ethical requirement of
the nursing code.
Under my specialty which is mental health, the law has set out directives of when a
person can be admitted (Carryer,, 2013). In the requirement, a single medical officer or
nurse cannot fully ascertain that one needs to be admitted but it has to be agreed by several
health officers. This legal requirement may be good in preventing unwarranted admissions,
however, it sometimes contradicts with the nurses’ believe of offering help. Mental ill
individuals might not always know that they are sick, there is need for someone else to point
that out. Before that happens, one cannot be treated for mental illness. This becomes

problematic in a situation where there is an urgent need to treat a mental ill person yet the
legal procedure of ascertaining that the person is ill has not occurred. These individuals might
be involved in self destructive activities of which another person may not point out easily.
Therefore, as per Doran, (2015), if the proper procedure for identifying their problems is
followed, treatments can be administered when it is too late. My resolution is that I will offer
consultative help to the individual first before administering any medication. This way, I will
be able to offer help them in advance and yet again still remain within the legal confines of
the Australian nursing laws.


Lennard-Palmer, L. (2012). The use of simulation for pediatric oncology nursing safety
principles: Ensuring competent practice through the use of a mnemonic, chemotherapy
road maps and case-based learning. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 27(3), 283-286.

Trinkoff, A.M., Geiger-Brown, J.M., Caruso, C.C., Lipscomb, J.A., Johantgen, M., Nelson,
A.L., Sattler, B.A., & Selby, V.L. (2008). Chapter 39. Personal safety for nurses. Patient
Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses.

Doran, Evan, BA, Grad Dip Health Soc Sci, P., Fleming, Jennifer, BA, M.H.A., PhD.,
Jordens, Christopher, BA, M.P.H., PhD., Stewart, Cameron L, Bec, L.L.B., PhD.,
Letts, J., M. Bioeth, & Kerridge, Ian H, MPhil(Cantab), F.R.A.C.P., F.R.C.P.A.
(2015). Managing ethical issues in patient care and the need for clinical ethics
support. Australian Health Review, 39(1), 44-50. Retrieved from

Module Two
The nursing code of conduct requires that patient information be kept private
(Bourgeois, Negron & Harper, 2015). However, this view is to some extend contradicted by
the ethics of care theory. According to the theory as stated by Regard and Sited (2012), all
health care moral agents should not be regarded as separate entities, however, should be
allowed to share views and information regarding a particular patient of interest. These
entities include clients, careers, institutions, and healthcare professionals. Therefore, like
Mulligan, and Braunack-Mayer (2014) puts it, sharing information is important in medical
practice. It offers a way to show the role of a nurse in handling information (Vezyridis &
Timmons, 2015). In dealing with mental health cases, information sharing sometimes
becomes difficult. This is because the affected individuals who are patients may not be in
apposition to comprehend or receive any information regarding their status. For instance,
according to the Australian terminal act which guides the health practice associated with
treating mealy ill individuals, one can be perceived to be mentally ill and taken in for
treatment even without their consent. Therefore, in such cases, it is not possible to share with
them their health information, however, the information is given to careers. Apparently, this
goes against the nursing ethics but remains in line with the consensus ethics believes that
gives considerations to all individuals who are involved in healthcare (Freegard & Isted,

Dealing with mental ill patients highlights the peak of the issues faced by healthcare
professionals in striving to remain within their required ethical conduct of keeping patient
information private and addressing caregivers (MacVane, 2015). This is because mental ill
patients are like normal patients whose health has deteriorated to the extent that they cannot
make their own decisions. In such situations, the decisions making process and concerns are
passed on to the carers or rather the family members. The case becomes difficult if a patient
is not admitted but is being treated from home. The carers deserve a right to know what is
happening in order for them to provide adequate care in the absence of a health professional
(Philip, McIver & Komesaroff, 2008). Therefore, in my practice specialty area of dealing
with mentally ill individuals, it is not a question of whether or not to provide health
information to the family, instead, it is more concerned with the particular type of
information that is passed on to the family of a mentally ill person. This is in line with Philip,
McIver and Komesaroff’s (2008) perception. According to them, family members and carers
of mentally ill patients have the right to patient information. However, the information shared
should only be what is relevant in helping them to offer better care for the sick person.


Bourgeois, F.C., Negron, D.J., Harper, M.B. (2015). Preserving Patient Privacy and
Confidentiality in the Era of Personal Health Records. Pediatrics, 135(5), e1125-e1127.

Gold, M., Philip, J., McIver, S., & Komesaroff, P. A. (2009). Between a rock and a hard
place: exploring the conflict between respecting the privacy of patients and informing

their carers. Internal Medicine Journal, 39(9), 582-587.
Mulligan, E., & Braunack-Mayer, A. (2014). Why protect confidentiality in health records? A
review of research evidence. Australian Health Review, 28(1), 48-55. R Some
problematic issues for patient empowerment. Ethics and Information Technology,
17(2), 113-124.
MacVane Phipps, F. (2015). Clinical governance review 20.2. Clinical Governance, 20(2),

Module Three
Mental health refers to the state of being in balance, being well emotionally, knowing
yourself, and being able to handle the day to day activities appropriately (McGrath &
Forrester, 2006). Therefore, it is challenging to make a person who is not mentally well
achieve proper mental health. Interactions with carers and other individuals near mentally ill
individuals revealed an overwhelming perception that mental health is associated with the
improper state of mind only. Few individuals seemed to see it in a positive dimension. Often,
it was difficult to see a distinction between mental health and mental illness. This perception
seems to be so high that even mental patients seem to feel that they are not normal. They see
themselves as being unfit for the society. As a result, it is difficult for most mentally ill
individuals to accept their status. According to Fuller (2011), they tend to hang to the
view that they are fine even if they see some changes in their characteristics. The fear of
negative societal perception is too heavy for them to bear. The case is similar with some of

mentally ill patient family members. They seem to hate the fact that one of their own does not
have good mental health.
Health institutions and medical professionals face a difficult task of changing the
perceptions of mental ill patients and their families regarding mental health. This has to
include psychological change of thoughts and status such as anxiety, depression, and stigma,
in the health care system. As argued by Earnshaw, (2013), the society places stigma to
people who are mentally ill. This makes healthy individuals shun way from interacting with
those who are unwell mentally. As a result, most mentally ill persons suffer from loneliness
which affects them so much. Therefore, the relationship that is established between mentally
ill people and the care givers helps a lot. They at least get to feel a sense of care and
acceptance. However, despite this care and the new formed relationship, most of them still
feel that they have little chances of becoming normal or rather being considered normal by
the larger society, there will always be some alienation away from them. However, in line
with Meehan, (2013) arguments, concentrating on how to cure mental illnesses and
giving adequate care to patients will help meet the complex needs of individuals who are
unwell mentally.
Module Three Reflection.
This module involved learning the various ways that people perceive illness and other
health related issues. It involved going through various health records, statistics, and
publication that at some point explain the reactions that people shows towards a certain
disease or an individual with that disease. This involved their perception of the danger a
certain disease possess, thoughts on the ability of the current healthcare system in Australia to
heal them, and their view on the causes of such diseases. Moreover, the studies during this
module also evaluated the people’s perception of death and any possible effects death has on
people (Alexander, Mettler, & Harvey, 2012). The study was important because it was aimed

at helping us understand various opinions of patients so that we could be able to form our
own opinions. My case being mental health, the study was in particular aimed at helping me
to understand the way people react to mental health. From then, I could then deduce if their
reaction is helpful for the patient or not. Moreover, evaluating how the patient in my care
react to health related issues and how distinctively those related to the patient also react was
aimed to helping me as nurses understand the relationship that exist between carers and their
patients. There are various lessons that I gained through the study. First, I was able to
understand that there are various misconceptions about certain health illnesses that most
people without certain levels of health literacy believe. For instance, in the case of mental
health, most people feel that an unhealthy state of mind cannot cause death and discomfort to
the affected individual (McGrath & Forrester, 2006). However, they affect the surrounding
people. Therefore, it is like a burden to the care givers of such individuals (Fuller,,
2011). Also, I was able to distinguish the notion in most people that most mental sicknesses
cannot be cured as they are some form of behavioural patterns. Overly, the module helped me
to understand various differences that exist between the societal perception of diseases and
how the disease mean in real sense. Therefore, there is need to increase health literacy among
people so as to enhance their understanding of various health issues and sicknesses.


Alexander, J.A., Mettler, L.R.H.J.N., & Harvey, J. (2012). Patient–physician role
relationships and patient activation among individuals with chronic illness. Health
Services Research, 47(3pt1), 1201-1223.

Earnshaw, V.A., Quinn, D.M., Kalichman, S.C., & Park, C.L. (2013). Development and
psychometric evaluation of the Chronic Illness Anticipated Stigma Scale. Journal of
Behavioral Medicine, 36(3), 270-282. doi:10.1605/01.301-0022643876.2013

Meehan, Thomas, RN, BHSc, MPH, M. SocSc, PhD., & Robertson, Samantha, B. BusComm,
B.A. Hons. (2013). The mental health nurse incentive program: Reactions of general
practitioners and their patients. Australian Health Review, 37(3), 337-40.

Fuller, J. D., Perkins, D., Parker, S., dew, L., Kelly, B., Roberts, R., Fragar, L. (2011).
Building effective service linkages in primary mental health care: A narrative review
part 2. BMC Health Services Research, 11, 66-72.