Ethical and Legal issues in nursing

Write an academic essay on Ethical and legal issues in nursing, specific to the given scenario. Provide supporting evidence to your claims and include recommendations to improve future practice


On 18th January 2020, Nicole Mary Smith (pseudonym) was admitted to the Emergency department of a private hospital with the chief complaints of abdominal pain, poor appetite, and urinary symptoms. Upon review by the Emergency physician, she was admitted to the surgical ward for further investigations and symptom management. The patient is an 86-year old woman, who lives in an assisted living facility. Her daughter and her grandson live in a nearby suburb and often visit her. During the preceding two weeks, Nicole’s condition has drastically deteriorated. Her daughter appears to be anxious and has narrated her struggle to manage the visits to the hospital and her work and family responsibilities. The visiting Oncologist has refereed Nicole to the palliative care team after the initial diagnosis of metastatic ovarian cancer.

You are the registered nurse looking after Nicole. You entered the room to administer pain relief, the patient’s daughter approaches you and says, “Why do you keep bothering us, do not give her any injections; she is going to die anyway”. She goes on, “I just cannot wait for all of this to be over; I have my own family to look after”. You realize her concerns and try to reassure her. However, you been new to palliative care and are finding the situation challenging.

Write an academic essay on Ethical and legal issues in nursing, specific to the given scenario. Provide supporting evidence to your claims and include recommendations to improve future practice.

You need to consider:

  • The legal and ethical concerns that the situation in the scenario raises.
  • The possible actions or inaction that could be taken and the implications of those actions.
  • You do not need to provide the ‘right’ answers, what you will be assessed on is your ability to determine the implications of different actions or inaction from a legal and ethical perspective.

Firstly, think of the possible courses of action (or inaction) that could be taken and then consider, do any ethical theories support (or not) the actions that you discuss?

  • Which ethical principles, doctrines or concepts apply to the actions/inaction put forward and if so, how?
  • Do any of the ethical principles conflict with each other or with the law?
  • Which torts or other legal concerns apply to your suggested actions/inaction?

Consider the Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics and RN Standards of Practice (2016), how do they apply to this situation?

General instructions for the assessment

  • The essay word limit is 2000 (plus or minus 10%). All words are calculated towards the word limit except for the cover page, title page, direct quotes, and end-text references. If you write less or more than this, penalties will apply.
  • The essay must be presented in accordance with this assessment Guidelines. Students can submit their written paper to Turnitin through Canvas at any time during the course but no later than the assessment submission deadline. Keep your Turnitin receipt as evidence of submission.
  • The essay will be written in academic essay format with an introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Students required to use the APA referencing system and select seven to ten refereed articles that provide the strongest evidence for your topic.
  • All articles must be ≤ 7 years old.
  • If student wish to apply for an extension, they can apply two days prior to the due date in writing, using the correct IHM form for requesting extensions, stating the grounds for the extension request and any evidence to support the extension (e.g. medical certificate).

Assessment brief

The essay should be structured under the same headings as the marking rubric, please consider both documents carefully as you construct your essay.


Here you will be assessed on your ability to form a logical piece of work that contains an introduction, which should inform the reader of the main content of the essay. The main body of the essay should contain a logical and cohesive development of ideas and your ability to sustain logical arguments.

Application of critical thinking

You will be assessed on your ability to consider the implications of the suggested actions/inactions and the application of theory to practice. You will also be assessed on your ability to support the arguments you put forward with evidence from appropriate literature.

English language proficiency (ELP)

As with all written assessment work that you undertake at IHM, you will be assessed for ELP within this assessment. You should make every effort to ensure that you pay close attention to the construction of sentences, ensuring spelling, grammar and syntax are correct. Poor writing will detract from the content of the essay. If you are unable to articulate the true meaning you are trying to portray you may lose valuable marks. If you are at all concerned about your written work, please see your lecturer.

Writing based on evidence

Assessment is designed to test your ability to synthesise evidence into an original piece of work.


Students are expected to learn and apply the conventions of each document type and to learn and apply the current APA system of referencing and formatting (currently APA version 6). All writing must be based on the best possible evidence, with sources cited in accordance with the APA system. A requirement of all assessment in this course is that you cite references in the APA style.