Legal Aspects of Nursing

Bridgit Dimond
Pearson Longman
Juni 2008
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Legal Aspects of Nursing
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Written specifically for nurses, this market leading textbook provides undergraduate students with a ‘one stop’ reference to all they need to know about the law and its practical application to everyday nursing situations.


“A comprehensive yet clearly written text that covers many of the contemporary legal issues within current Nursing Practice. Throughout the text, legal principles are illustrated with the use of practice-based case scenarios; these significantly increase accessibility for the non-legal reader.”

 Mark Davies, University of Glamorgan


·        Accessibly written to ensure the law is explained simply and is related to nursing practice throughout

·        Emphasises the practical application of the law to everyday situations that nurses may encounter

·        Colour text design makes navigation easy and quickly develops the student’s working knowledge for the purpose of completing their studies and confidently pursuing their career path

Reflection questions and further exercises quickly develop the student's ability to understand the law, apply it to their own specialisations and suceed in assessments.

·        Part Two contains material relevant for all areas of legal study that nurses will encounter in the second and third year of their degree. 


New to this Edition

  • Supporting website includes MCQ’s, web links, an online glossary and web updates on changes to the law.
  • Updated material includes coverage of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, changes to employment legislation, Sexual Offences Act 2003, Human Tissue Act 2004, and other major changes to the structure of the Department of Health, and new professional regulation issued by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

  • Case summary and key case boxes explicitly highlight the cases that students need to know; key statute boxes flag up the most important statutory provisions; practical scenario boxes demonstrate the application of the law to nursing situations; end of chapter tasks and self-assessment questions make learning interactive; and an essential glossary defines the key terms encountered

Supporting resources:

Interactive exercises; answers to questions in book; online glossary; regular legal updates. Visit:

Table of Contents

Table of cases
Table of statutes
Foreword to first edition
Foreword to third edition
Preface to first edition
Preface to fifth edition

1. Introduction: four arenas of accountability, the legal system and human rights
2 Actions in the criminal courts and defences to criminal charges
3 Liability in a civil court case for negligence
4 Specific problem areas in civil liability: personal liability of the nurse, vicarious liability of the employer and managerial issues
5 Statutory functions and management of the NHS
6 Progress of a civil claim: defences and compensation
7 Consent to treatment and informing the patient
8 Data protection: confidentiality and access
9 Record keeping, statements and evidence in court
10 The nurse and employment law
11 The nurse as a registered professional
12 Health and safety and the nurse

13 Children and young persons
14 Midwifery
15 The nurse on the gynaecology ward
16 Intensive care, transfusion and transplant surgery nursing
17 Theatre and anaesthetic nursing and the recovery ward
18 Nurse educator and researcher
19 Legal aspects of the care of older people
20 Nursing the mentally disordered
21 Accident and emergency, outpatients, genitourinary departments and day surgery
22 Human fertility and genetics
23 Community, primary care nursing and palliative care
24 Scope of professional practice, clinical nurse specialist and consultant nurse

25 Legal aspects of property
26 Legal aspects of AIDS and other infectious diseases
27 Handling complaints
28 Legal aspects of medicines
29 Legal aspects of death
30 Complementary and alternative therapies

Appendix A Articles of the European Convention on Human Rights
Appendix B Congenital Disabilities (Civil Liability) Act 1976 (1976 c 28)
Appendix C Schedules 2 and 3 of Data Protection Act 1998
Further reading

Back Cover

Legal Aspects of Nursing

Fifth Edition

Bridgit Dimond


Legal Aspects of Nursing, now in its fifth edition, is the ‘one stop’ reference you can rely on for all you need to know about the law and its practical application to everyday nursing situations.

This new edition provides:

- Coverage of general principles including how the legal system works and legal issues relating to medicines, and specialist areas such as children and older people, making it suitable for both introductory and specialist study

- New practical dilemma boxes to help you build confidence as you encounter a range of of practical situations

- Key case and statute boxes highlight the cases and statutes that you need to be aware of  

- Reflection questions and further exercises quickly develop your ability to understand the law, apply it to your own specialisation and succeed in assessments

Legal Aspects of Nursing has been updated throughout with new and relevant case law and legislation, including coverage of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, changes to employment legislation, Sexual Offences Act 2003, Human Tissue Act 2004, Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 and the Mental Health Act 2007.  

Other major changes in guidance issued by the Department of Health, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the Healthcare Commission, the National Patient Safety Agency and the Nursing and Midwifery Council have also been analysed.

 Do you want to give yourself a head start come exam time?

Visit to access interactive exercises to test yourself on topics covered in the book, an online glossary and updates to major changes in the law to make sure you know the latest developments.

About the author

BRIDGIT DIMOND MA (Oxon) LLB MPhil DSA, AHSM, Barrister-at-law is Emeritus Professor at the University of Glamorgan. She is an experienced health service manager and lecturer in health service law and management.  She is also the author of a number of books and articles on all aspects of professional accountability and patients’ rights.



Emeritus Professor, University of Glasgow