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Law: Nursing Practice and Accountability Seminar

  • : Surry Hills NSW 2010

A Two-day Seminar: Duty of Care; Social Media Use and Misuse; Failure to Use Evidence: Onus of Responsibility for Clinical Decisions; Professional Boundaries: Medicines and Safety; Legal Case Studies, etc.



Safe and accountable practice requires all nurses need to be mindful of and understand the implications of their legal responsibilities. Attend this two-day seminar and find out about:

  • How does modern law affect your practice?
  • What are the legal implications of not using best-available evidence in your practice?
  • How does the law interpret Codes of Practice and Standards?
  • How are unsafe medicine practices viewed by the law?
  • Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter: what is acceptable on social media?
  • Who is responsible for your CPD?
  • Mandatory reporting – what’s your legal responsibility?

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain important knowledge. Book now!


Need for Program

There are potential risks manifest in all areas of nursing care. Nurses have a legal and ethical duty surrounding and encompassing all that they do. Ignorance of this is not a defence. Despite this, every year nurses are involved in cases that invariably include a failure of duty of care at some level. There is a need for forums that enable nurses to debate and consider the implications of their legal responsibilities.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this seminar is to offer nurses a forum to debate and enhance their knowledge of modern law as it affects their practice.

Your Learning Outcomes

  • Build knowledge on the accountability and the legal framework which applies to the provision of safe health care and patient outcomes
  • Analyse nursing practice events within a legal context and consider how negative outcomes are prevented
  • Identify professional nursing legal responsibilities that guide best-practice patient care
  • Schedule Day One

    8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


    Nursing Codes and Standards that Protect the Public

    This introductory session will discuss how the law interprets relevant codes of practice and standards and will explain how the courts use them when litigation occurs. Reviewing The Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, it will reveal why Codes of Practice are a fundamental reference to nursing care and the protection of patients. Includes:

    • What Codes and Standards relate to nurses and where can you access them?


    Case Scenario Involving Multiple Events

    We will now look at an example of a real case that was investigated under the National Law Act. You will be encouraged to consider the implications of the behaviour of the nurse and the points of law that were transgressed. Includes:

    • Encouraging unprofessional conduct in others
    • Falsely recording medication administration
    • Failing to properly supervise other staff
    • Contacting key witness in hospital investigation and seeking to influence evidence

    10:30am - Morning Tea


    “What Went Wrong?” Duty of Care

    Following the previous session, we will now look at another real case scenario where a tragic sequence of events led to the death of a surgical patient. It will enable you to consider other examples of your personal duty of care.

    Case Scenario - Failure in the Continuum of Care

    A woman who underwent a surgical procedure at a regional hospital developed a postoperative complication causing generalised peritonitis. She was returned to the operating theatre a few days later but sadly died. This complex case will include discussion on:

    • Allocation of nursing resources
    • Continuity of care - handover of patient
    • Administration of medicines
    • Reflections on performing a "Root Cause Analysis" after an untoward event

    12:30pm - Lunch and Networking


    Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tweets: What are the Risks?

    This session looks at the many faces of confidentiality, privacy and keeping professional boundaries in a modern age. For example, a nurse in the UK who started a sexual relationship with a former patient after he contacted her on Facebook has been removed from the nursing register. All patients have a right to expect that information about them is held in confidence and that the boundary between nurse and patient is maintained at all times. This session will look at examples of confidentiality and privacy incidents have occurred and will enable you to reflect on vulnerabilities in your behaviour and practice environment. Includes:

    • An exploration of how confidentiality can be eroded, e.g. through inappropriate access to records or tea room gossip
    • Facebook and other social media - what is acceptable?
    • Photographs of patients / hospital environments

    3:00pm - Afternoon Tea


    Professional Boundaries - What You Need to Know

    When professional boundaries are breached, all sorts of unexpected consequences may occur. In this final session for the day we will look at the 'Standard for Professional Boundaries' in more detail. Includes:

    • Why is maintaining a professional relationship/boundary with the public so important and what are the consequences of breaching this boundary?


    Summing Up - Final Comments for Day One

    4:45pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

    Day Two

    9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


    Onus of Responsibility for CPD and Patient Outcomes

    There is continual debate about who is responsible for CPD. Is it your responsibility or that of the organisation in which you work? This session will review accountability and APHRA guidelines for continuing professional development. It will illustrate this point with two cases associated with inappropriate nursing actions which resulted in excruciating pain and death. Includes:

    Case Scenario 1
    • A patient suffered a neurological incident and later experienced excruciating pain, but was not reviewed by a medical practitioner until 7 days later.
    Case Scenario 2
    • A man in a correctional centre complained of generalised epigastric and chest discomfort. He was assessed by a nurse who made treatment decisions. The man subsequently died.


    Failing to Use Best Available Evidence - What Are Your Risks?

    As best-practice evidence emerges there are benchmarks from which legal precedents can be determined. It is the responsibility of nurses to ensure they are following best-practice guidelines when providing care. However, "old practices" are still routinely followed despite their efficacy being no longer proven. This session will look at responsibility and accountability within the context of a case study. Includes:

    • Why is it legally advisable for entrenched, unexamined rituals to be replaced by evidence-based practice?
    • Ensuring legal protection through the application of clinical research findings
    • When adverse events occur, does the use of habitual clinical routines constitute a legal defence?

    10:30am - Morning Tea


    Consent and Refusal of Treatment Across the Lifespan

    The process of rightfully obtaining consent is an area of the Law that nurses will often be exposed to. For accountability and safety of practice, nurses must be clear as to what constitutes consent and the circumstances upon which a person is able to make an informed decision to refuse treatment. Having a clear understanding of your patient's rights in consenting and refusing treatment will also support your role as a patient advocate when you witness another member of the health care team who is not honouring this patient’s right. Therefore, this session is designed to help you come away feeling confident in your knowledge of this legal aspect of your care and ready to apply this knowledge in your practice. Case scenarios of poor consenting practices will be discussed to demonstrate what exactly is consent and how refusal of treatment can change across the lifespan, with focus on these particular areas:

    • Aged Care
    • Paediatric
    • Mental Health
    • Midwifery

    12:30pm - Lunch and Networking


    Medicines - Are You Safe?

    One of the most common areas of clinical risk relates to the administration of medicines. Knowledge of the legislation that governs medication management is essential for the delivery of appropriate and safe care to patients. In this session, illustrative examples will be used to demonstrate how the safe practice of medicines is interpreted at law and the appropriate actions you need to take if something untoward occurs. It will also include:

    • Should you administer medicines if you don't know how they work?
    • Are you regularly accessing correct and up-to-date information?
    • What are your legal risks in failing to identify inappropriate prescription orders and errors?
    • “Medicine Diversion” - what to do if you suspect misuse of medicines by a colleagues

    3:00pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    Mandatory Reporting - Your Legal Responsibility

    There are several mandatory reporting requirements that affect all nurses; for example, the Standard for Mandatory Notification under the National Law Act, and child protection.

    • Do you know what your responsibilities are?
    • What should you do if you suspect a health professional is acting in a manner which is unprofessional and high risk?
    • What about suspected abuse to those within the workplace, including patients and colleagues?


    Summary and Final Questions

    4:15pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


    Linda Starr

    Linda Starr

    Dr Linda Starr is a general and mental health qualified nurse, lawyer, and associate professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Flinders University. Her research interests have been in health law for health practitioners, criminal law, forensic health care, and elder abuse investigation and prosecution, which was the subject of her PhD. Linda is currently the chair of the state board of the Nursing and Midwifery Board, Australia, the director on the Board of Directors at the Aged Rights Advocacy Service, and is the founding president of the Australian Forensic Nurses Association. She has an extensive speaking record, nationally and internationally, on issues in health law, forensic nursing, and elder abuse.

Law: Nursing Practice and Accountability Seminar
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11 Hours | 00 Mins
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11 Hours | 00 Mins
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Rydges Sydney Central, 28 Albion Street
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