The legal duty of care for nurses and other healthcare professionals.

YOUNG, Andy (2009). The legal duty of care for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Journal Of Clinical Nursing, 18 (22), 3071-3078.

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Aims and objectives.  To explore the nature and extent of the legal duty of care in relation to contemporary healthcare practice.

Background.  The paper seeks to re-frame and update the legal duty of care for clinical nursing practice in the 21st century, taking into account collaborative and partnership working in healthcare practice.

Design.  Doctrinal legal ‘approach’.

Method.  ‘Black letter’ legal research methodology used for data collection and analysis. Literature search using Westlaw and LexisNexis database(s) to identify recent common law decisions.

Results.  There has been a perceptible doctrinal shift away from paternalism and toward patient empowerment and autonomy in the last decade. This has implications for nurses and other healthcare professionals in terms of consenting patients and acting reasonably to ensure quality patient care.

Conclusions.  A number of experienced nurses are currently assuming extended roles and some are completing medical tasks, traditionally allocated to doctors. These specialist practitioners must remember that additional responsibility invariably means increased professional risk and accountability. Therefore, it is essential that those engaging in advanced nursing practice, fully understand the nature and reach of their professional duty of care and the significance of statutory and common law developments.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Nurses and other healthcare professionals must update their clinical skills and practice within a legal framework and to certain standards. The cases cited and discussed are relevant to all branches of nursing and indeed to all health professions.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number:
Page Range: 3071-3078
Depositing User: Andy Young
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2012 10:44
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 00:15

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