Structure of Nursing Legalities

by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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    00:01 Let's talk today about legalities in nursing practice.

    00:04 Wow, this is a scary topic for nurses and nursing students, but today it's not meant to scare you, but to let you know about the level of care we need to provide for patients, so there's legal guidelines to make sure we stay safe.

    00:21 Alright, let's look at what governs how we practice, we call this the Nurse Practice Act and this defines and describes legal boundaries of nursing.

    00:31 So there's four different types of law that kinda help form this nursing practice, so we know how to practice legally and ethically.

    00:39 So, just consider something called Common Law, you might have heard this before but this is gonna be something that deals with issues in which there were similar cases, so let me give an example of that.

    00:53 Let's say years back, there's a medical error that maybe resulted in death.

    00:58 Now the decision of this case will form how we make decisions on cases in the future that are similar, so this helps guide that for later on. This is called Common Law.

    01:10 Next, let's talk about Regulatory Law.

    01:13 Okay, so this deals with procedures that are established by local administrative agencies, a great example is our Board of Nursing. Now, just know that our Board of Nursing, it's gonna vary from State to State, so make sure you're familiar with your Board of Nursing practice in your particular State.

    01:33 Alright, let's talk about Statutory Law.

    01:36 This deals with laws that are passed by our legislation and we look at this in two different branches, Criminal Law and Civil Law.

    01:45 So Criminal Law is exactly what it sounds like, we need to prevent harm to society, that way if this is violated, it provides punishment for those crimes.

    01:56 The other thing to discover under Statutory Law is our Civil Law.

    02:01 This protects the right of you, as a patient, as an individual as well.

    02:06 And lastly there's Standards of Care.

    02:08 So this is what help shapes our nursing practice, and this is the values and priorities of the profession, so one great example is the American Nurses Association, we call this the ANA, be familiar with this, you're gonna hear this a lot in your nursing curriculum.

    02:24 So, the ANA is an interesting agency because it kinda helps guide our ethical principles in the way we practice.

    02:31 Next, Joint Commission. Boy, this is a scary word also for those in the health care system.

    02:37 These kind of guys come around, they audit, make sure in the health care system we're on our Ps and Qs, so joint commission, when you get hire into your agency you're definitely gonna hear about these guys, and don't forget about your agency's policies and your procedures.

    02:52 Every health care agency's a little bit different so be familiar with those as well.

    02:57 So, don't forget these laws, and the standard of practice, is going to differ from State to State, so make sure you look at yours.

    03:04 Alright, so here are eight examples of really important Nursing Laws, these looks a little overwhelming, right? So as a new student want to be particularly, pay attention to is HIPAA, otherwise is known as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA. A lot of us health care provider can't remember what these letters stand for but you're sure you're gonna remember HIPAA.

    03:32 So, what I wanna do is take a minute and talk about this particular act cuz these are specific rules for protecting patient information and this information is regarding the patient's health.

    03:44 Now if you've violated HIPAA, these rules can definitely result in fines, maybe disciplinary action, and even imprisonment, so remember HIPAA, you won't forget it.

    03:57 Your nursing instructors will make sure you follow it.

    04:00 Alright, next. One more thing on this slide I'd like to talk about is advanced directives also which encompasses living wills or POAs. Man, there's a lot of acronyms in nursing, I know this is really difficult for nursing school, but don't forget HIPAA and don't forget POA, so this is an interesting topic to talk about. POA means Power of Attorney, so this is something to remember in your practice and in your clinicals and as a nurse.

    04:28 The reason why this is important.

    04:30 Sometimes patients fall ill to where they cannot communicate what they want in their health care decisions for themselves, so maybe the patient's in surgery and not doing well.

    04:42 Maybe cognitively they're not very awake.

    04:45 Sometimes health care decisions have to be made.

    04:49 Sometimes it could be an emergency, the situation's gonna be varied, but what a Power of Attorney is, is someone that if I'm ill, I've entrusted and made a Power of Attorney to make decisions if I can't for myself, so remember Power of Attorney because this is a big tool and sometimes you may run into this in you clinical setting or your nursing practice.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Structure of Nursing Legalities by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN is from the course Ethics and Legalities in Nursing Practice.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Uses similar past cases as the standard for future ones like it
    2. Deals with procedures and policies on a state-by-state basis
    3. Deals with laws passed through government legislation
    4. Shapes nursing practice and standards
    1. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
    2. Advance directives
    3. Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)
    4. Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA)
    1. A client who is unconscious and needs emergency treatment
    2. An elderly client who is able to make decisions
    3. A child who has the support system of both parents
    4. A client who is terminally ill and has chosen to receive palliative care

    Author of lecture Structure of Nursing Legalities

     Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

    Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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