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Legal and Ethical Issues in Nursing Practice

NRS 502

Breyer State University

Instructor: Dominick L. Flarey, Ph.D, DCH


COURSE OVERVIEW: Welcome to NRS 502, a graduate level course in the curriculum for the Degree, Masters in Nursing Science. I am pleased to offer you this course, which will be an important course for your advanced clinical practice. This is an exciting course. You have the opportunity in this course to explore the most pressing legal and ethical issues and concerns related to the delivery of patient care, and the administration of nursing services. This course is structured to present theories of ethical practice, as well as issues of the law related to health care delivery. You will study both specialties of practice in a blended manner, as the text provides for both to be examined among board-based issues.

This course is formatted at the graduate level of study. It is intended to provide you with the theory, knowledge and application necessary to deal with pressing legal and ethical issues in administrative practice. Many concepts are presented that impact patient care on a daily basis. Upon completing this course, you will have a far-reaching knowledge base in which to provide for sound policies and procedures for nursing services, which comply with legal and ethical mandates. You will also be able to commensurate roles in nursing management/administration as high level "advocates" for clients.

This course will also stimulate higher levels of awareness regarding the need to develop departmental and organizational compliance programs which address adherence to legal/ethical issues. It will also assist advanced practice nurses in taking on a more active role within institutional settings regarding legal/ethical dilemmas in practice.

TIME FRAME: This is a 4-semester hour course. This course is allotted 15 weeks of time. You must complete all of the requirements for the course successfully by the end of the 15 week period. The first day of week one will begin the day that you register for the course, or the day which you notify me that your text book(s) have arrived and you are ready to begin your studies. Please be cognizant of the time frame. It is rare that extensions of time are permitted, unless you have good justification. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be awarded 4 semester hours of credit.

TEXTBOOKS: There is one required textbook for this course.

Book 1: Law and Ethics for Clinicians. By Jacqulyn Kay Hall, BSN, ME d, JD. Jackhal Books; Amarillo, Texas: 2002. ISBN # 131937839.

For links to the university bookstore and other services, please go to the "Links" section at the top of your classroom.

EXAMINATIONS: There are two examinations for this course, a mid-term exam and a final exam. The mid-term examination must be taken by the end of the fifth week in the course. The final examination must be taken by the end of the tenth week in the course. Both examinations are programmed and are located in the classroom for this course. The examinations are "open book" objective type. You will have three days to complete your exam, once you have access it from the classroom.

GRADING: The grading scale for this course is as follows:

90-100%    = A
80-89%      = B
70-79%      = C
Below 70% = Fail

COMMUNICATION: You are encouraged to communicate with me. I am available as a teacher, coach, and mentor to assist you in meeting your goals for this course. Primarily, communication is through e-mail. However, I am also available for conversation by telephone if you would like. Our classroom for this course has a "chat" room. I am also very willing to meet with you one-on-one in the chat room at your request. From time to time, depending on how many students are enrolled in this course at a particular time, we will have some scheduled group chats. You will receive more detailed information at the time such chat sessions are scheduled

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS: There is one written assignment for this course. You will research legal and ethical issues related to advanced directives and present a final paper to me. Information on this written project is provided on the "assignments" page.

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR: Dominick L. Flarey, Ph.D., MBA, RN,CS, FACHE, is Dean of Nursing and Alternative Health Care at Canyon College, and is professor of many of the nursing and health care related Certificate Programs offered by the Canyon College. He holds a BSN degree, a Masters in Business Administration, a Masters In Health Science Education, and PhDs in Nursing Administration and Management. He is a Registered Nurse and a Certified and Licensed Adult Nurse Practitioner. He has held positions as Associate Administrator Patient Care, Chief Operating Officer, and Administrator in acute care. He has also held positions with several national health care consulting firms and has conducted many administrative consulting projects. He is also a Certified Specialist in Legal Nurse Consulting and continues to consult on medical malpractice cases across the country.

Dr. Flarey is currently the Editor-in-Chief of a journal in Healthcare Law, Ethics & Regulation. He lectures extensively across the country on management and clinical issues in health care, as well as law and ethics. He is certified in Nursing Administration Advanced by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives.

He is the co-author/editor of seven texts books in health care, and has authored over sixty articles in peer-reviewed journals.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

1). Understand the most pressing legal and ethical issues for practicing clinical personnel today.
2). Understand the tenants of the law as related to issues of health care delivery.
3). Understand the legal rights of clients receiving health care.
4). Understand the responsibility of nurses for legally sound clinical practice.
5). Understand the compliance needs of a nursing service department.
6). Understand the role of the nurse manager and nurse executive in insuring legally sound policies and procedures in patient care.
7). Understand the theories of law and ethics as related to health care delivery.
8). Understand the methodologies used to deal effectively with ethical dilemmas in practice.
9). Understand the need to educate and train staff on legal and ethical compliance in care delivery.
10). Understand the imperatives of advanced practice nurses in administrative practice to advocate for the legal rights of clients.
11). Understand the imperatives of advanced practice nurses in administrative practice to advocate for the ethical delivery of health care.
12). Understand the role of the nurse manager and nurse executive in bring legal and ethical issues to the forefront of corporate consciousness.
13). Understand the most pressing issues related to law affecting employment and human resource management.
14). Understand the constructs of state and federal laws and mandates.


1. Theories of law and ethics
2. Classifications of law
3. State laws
4. Statutes
5. Case Law
6. Ethics and decision making
7. Anatomy of a lawsuit
8. Theory of morality development
9. Ethics committees
10. Processes for ethical decision making
11. Torts, negligence and malpractice
12. Defense theories
13. Corporate liability
14. Tort reforms
15.Ethical theories related to professions
16. Types of torts
17. Non-maleficence in research
18. Professional credentialing
19. Consent to treatment
20. Advanced directives
21. Negligent liability for clinician practice
22. Issues of autonomy
23. Justice and law
24. Labor law
25. Justice and impartiality
26. Issues of discrimination
27. Medical economics and justice
28. Neonates, ethics and law
29. Death, dying ethics and law
30. Living wills
31. Quality of life
32. Right to die case law
33. Pain control
34. Euthanasia
35. The Holland experience

INFORMATION: If you have any questions regarding this program, you may address them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . An administrative faculty member will respond to all questions.





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