Law and Ethics in a Nursing Practice Analytical Essay by lozilla27

Reflections by a nurse on the legal and ethical issue of her patient's competency to make a decision to give informed consent.
# 152267 | 5,000 words | 57 sources | APA | 2008 | GB
Published on Jan 20, 2013 in Medical and Health (Nursing) , Law (General) , Ethics (General)

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This paper discusses a critical incident in the author's nursing practice involving the ethical principles and legal requirement of consent, in relation to her patient's competency to make a decision to give informed consent. The paper explores how essential law and ethics are to nurses and how ethical principles relate to nursing care. The paper also evaluates the importance of reflection, using Johns Model for Structured Reflection, to everyday clinical practice as related in extensive literature.

From the Paper:

"I believe that I did act for the best, as I did not openly challenge the medical decision to test this patient's capacity. However I did not ask a member of staff why a test was fitting in this case, particularly as this year the Mental Capacity Act (2005) came into effect in 2007. Had I inquired I would have increased my learning of the rationale behind it as I knew from Mr Smith's medical notes that he was known the psychiatric team, I did not know if he had a diagnosis of a mental illness as such. It was handed over on a shift that he had learning difficulties and depression. Roberts (2004) states that mental illness 'diminishes, to varying degrees, a person's capacity'. Therefore, paternalistic procedures in psychiatry are 'sometimes necessary to govern a person who, because of mental illness, is currently unable to govern themselves' (p584). On the other hand healthcare staff must not stereotype patients with a mental illness as unable to consent 'thus destroying the autonomy of an entire group of people.'
"The factors that may have influenced me were that Mr Smith was my patient and I wanted to get to know him as I do all patients I look after. The staff and I were aware of his history of depression, and we tried to establish a trustful relationship with him, despite his annoyance with us when we needed to take his observations."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Allmark, P. (2005) Can the study of ethics enhance nursing practice? Journal of Advanced Nursing. 51(6), 618-624.
  • Atkins, S and Murphy, K. (1994) Reflective Practice. Nursing Standard. 8(39), 49-54.
  • Aveyard, H. (2000) Is there a concept of autonomy that can usefully inform nursing practice? Journal of Advanced Nursing. 32(2), 352-358.
  • Aveyard, H. (2001) The requirement for informed consent prior to nursing procedures. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 37(3), 243-249.
  • Bartlett, P. and Sandland, R (2003) Mental Health Law, Policy and Practice. 2nd ed. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Law and Ethics in a Nursing Practice (2013, January 20) Retrieved March 29, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Law and Ethics in a Nursing Practice" 20 January 2013. Web. 29 March. 2023. <>