Informed consent: Legal responsibilities in nursing and midwifery
This module considers the legal obligation to obtain valid consent and the general principles that should be applied to any such situation.
It clarifies who should obtain consent, the ways in which consent may be given and the criteria for valid consent, including in emergency situations and from minors and people with an intellectual disability or mental incapacity to consent.
A nurse or midwife's first duty is to his or her client and the duty to obtain valid consent falls within each individual's general duty to take reasonable care of their clients.
To fulfil this duty, all clinicians need to know their own obligations in terms of consent. However, they also need to know when it may be necessary to question a medical practitioner's decision on consent and how to address situations in which adequate disclosure of information has not been provided to clients.
At the end of this module participants will be able to:
- Have an overview of Australian law regarding consent
- Understand the importance of obtaining valid consent before performing a medical procedure or treatment
- Know who should obtain consent, the ways in which consent may be given and the criteria for valid consent
- Be aware of the duty to obtain consent from minors, people with an intellectual disability or mental incapacity to consent, and in emergency situations
- Understand the legal position of all those practicing nursing or midwifery in situations where patients have not been provided with adequate disclosure
- Understand the basic requirements for a valid consent form