Understanding and meeting your legal responsibilities as a nurse
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Understanding and meeting your legal responsibilities as a nurse

Louise Terry Reader in law and ethics, School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, England
Graham Carr Senior lecturer, School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, England
Yvonne Halpin Associate professor in practice learning, School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, England

Nurses, midwives and nursing students are legally responsible for their actions. This article discusses the legal standard of care required in relation to nursing and midwifery practice and nurses’ professional standards and code of conduct. It examines how courts in the UK determine if nurses have met their duty of care and how nurses must ensure they maintain competence to provide safe care. It examines why organisational knowing – understanding the organisation in which one is employed; its people, values and how it works – is important for all nurses, regardless of their level in the organisation. It also discusses workplace incivility and its adverse effects on nurses, patient care and healthcare organisations. The article explains that if nurses are uncertain why they are doing something, they should investigate this further, because the law expects nurses to be able to justify their actions, or failure to act.

Nursing Standard. 32, 12,52-63. doi: 10.7748/ns.2017.e11015

Correspondence

terrylm@lsbu.ac.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

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Received: 15 September 2017

Accepted: 24 October 2017