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NUR8340 The Law and Health Care Practice

Semester 2, 2014 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery

Contents on this page


Examiner: Joachim Ferrer
Moderator: Don Gorman


Pre-requisite: Students must be a Registered Nurse or Midwife and must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: PMHN or MNRS or MMID or PMHN


The expectations of an experienced Registered Nurse and Midwife include a cognisance of the law of their country. If they commit a crime unwittingly they cannot plead ignorance to exempt them from the consequences of their actions. In practice, Registered Nurses and Midwives are faced with many complex legal dilemmas that challenge them to make decisions that will both safeguard themselves and ensure safe practice. To do so effectively, these practitioners need to have a high level of understanding and knowledge of the relevant legal concepts and principles pertaining to their practice.


This course focuses on law for the experienced Registered Nurse and Midwife. It will increase the students' knowledge and understanding of the legal aspects of the relevant Acts and Regulations with regard to their nursing as it relates to the provision of health care.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to, in their context of practice:

  1. analyse the principles leading to an action in a claim of civil negligence;
  2. distinguish principles of criminal negligence as compared to civil negligence;
  3. evaluate the elements of a valid informed consent;
  4. critically assess own position of being responsible at law;
  5. critically assess their role in nursing or midwifery practice in relation to Acts and Regulations governing their practice;
  6. demonstrate a well-developed capacity to connect legal, ethical and clinical reasoning;
  7. propose and evaluate strategies for safe practice in the form of risk management strategies.
  8. Demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Perspective and context 10.00
2. Professional liability 15.00
3. Professional regulation 15.00
4. Trespass to the body and consent 10.00
5. Criminal law, nursing midwifery practice 10.00
6. Legislation: Speciality practice or international practice 40.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • McIllwraith, J & Madden, B 2010, Health care & the law, 5th edn, Thomson Reuters (Professional), Rozelle NSW.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Forrester, K & Griffiths, D 2009, Essentials of law for health professionals, 3rd edn, Elsevier, Chatswood.
  • Johnstone, MJ 2009, Bioethics: a nursing perspective, 5th edn, Churchill Livingstone, Sydney.
  • Journal of Law and Medicine.
    (The Law Book Co Ltd.)
  • McArdle J 2011, The Queensland Law handbook: Your practical guide to the law, 11th edn, Caxton Legal Centre Inc, Brisbane.
  • Queensland Government 2000, Mental Health Act,
  • Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) 2012, Nurses and the law, 3rd edn, Queensland Nurses Union (QNU), Brisbane.
  • Staunton, P & Chiarella, M 2013, Nursing & the Law, 6th edn, Churchill Livingstone, Chatswood, NSW.
  • Yoder-Wise, PS (ed) 2010, Leading and managing in nursing, 5th edn, Mosby, St Louis.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 60.00
Private Study 100.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
STUDY BOOK ACTIVITIES 100 50 12 Sep 2014
2500 WORD ESSAY 100 50 24 Oct 2014

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximize their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the available weighted marks for the summative assessment items.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must dispatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the dispatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. If requested, students will be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be dispatched to USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request to do so.

  3. The examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment only in extenuating circumstances and requested at least one week before the submission due date.

  4. The Faculty will normally only accept assessments that have been written, typed or printed on paper-based media or alternatively submitted through EASE.

  5. Students who do not have regular access to postal services or who are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner early on in the course to negotiate such special arrangements.

  6. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  7. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete - Make up). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  8. Students enrolled in the programs of PGD MHN or MNRS or MMID or PMHN since Feb 2013 should use APA (6th ed.) referencing style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. Students prior to enrolling in 2013 may continue to use the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. The APA and Harvard (AGPS) referencing style is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //