Main Menu

My Account
Online Free Samples
   Free sample   Ethics and legal norms in australian nursing practice

Nursing Essay: Ethics & Legal Norms in Australian Nursing Practice


Task: Assessment two task instructions: Critically identify and discuss the relevant legal and ethical considerations in relation to the case study provided below. Critical evaluation involves giving your verdict as to what extent a statement or findings are true or to what extent you agree with them. Provide evidence from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict an argument. Come to a final conclusion and discuss this, basing your decision on what you judge to be the most important factors and justify how you have made your decision. Ethical considerations relate to the ethical principles that guide professional nursing practice.

Detailed Instructions:
1. Read the case study below and critically identify and discuss the relevant legal and ethical issues from a nursing perspective.

2. Write a response to the nursing essay topic above using essay structure with an introduction, body paragraphs - that include the key points listed above - and conclusion

Case Study:
Amy is a second-year nursing student at Federation University. She is currently on a three-week clinical placement at Sunny Hills Hospital.

In March 2020, Amy was driving home from a friend's birthday party at 2 am and was pulled over by the Police for a random alcohol and drug test. Amy's alcohol breath test result indicated she had an alcohol level of 0.25 and she tested positive for cocaine.

As a result, her driving licence was cancelled immediately, and she was charged with high range drink driving and driving under the influence of illicit drugs. She appeared in the local Magistrates Court, was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and illicit drugs, was fined $1,000, her driving licence was suspended for six months and she was awarded three demerit points.

Amy was able to organise lifts from her friends during the six months and regained her driving licence in September 2020. She remembered from the Legal and Ethical issues in Clinical Practice course in first year that she was supposed to notify AHPRA regarding her conviction. She was concerned that she would not be able to complete her nursing degree if anyone knew about her conviction, so she only told close friends.

During the first week of this clinical placement, Amy noticed that the medication cupboard in the ward was regularly left unlocked. She had been having trouble sleeping due to working shift work so one day she stole a bottle of sleeping pills and a bottle of strong pain killers to give to her friends. Unfortunately, she did not notice that another nurse had seen her take the medications and reported the theft to the Nurse Unit Manager of the ward. Amy was reported to the police and to the Federation University Clinical Placement Co-ordinator.


It is stated here in nursing essay that nursing facilities are known to be the backbone of the entire healthcare organization worldwide and have been provided with multiple roles in a healthcare setting. They have a significant role in taking charge of every health care assistance such as observing patients, monitoring a health condition, delivering medication, maintain the proper environment for the patient, assisting professionals, as well as treating and caring for the patient. nurses are said to be a key factor in the healthcare setting with connects the patient with other health care factors and professionals physically, mentally as well as emotionally (Haddad & Geiger, 2018). Thus, fraud, illegal acts, as well as hiding and conducting unethical conduct are known to hamper the ethical as well as legal decorum of the health care setting as well as nursing organizations. It is hence necessary to assess and identify significant legal as well as ethical issues that are often observed in nursing facilities that are related to the provided case study of Amy. The assessment will assess and analyze the ethical as well as legal misconducts and offenses conducted by her along with the ethical standards and guidelines that are running within the premises of Australian health care organization for the betterment of nursing practices. It will highlight the issue or unlawful acts carried out by Amy during her clinical practice which is accounted to be unethical and unlawful under the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) codes of conduct.

Nursing service is known as one of the noble professions in health care organizations as it requires the nurses to uphold ethical as well as legal morals and standards in their practice and profession. There are multiple guidelines, standards, and codes for nursing facilities in the health care organization of Australia such as the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Code of ethics, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council as well as Nursing and Midwifery Board AHPRA (Rudge & Toffoli, 2019). Focusing on the case study of Amy who is a second-year student of nursing at the Federation University and is currently working as an intern on clinical placement. It has been found that there are certainly illegal and unethical misconducts have been committed by Amy which has developed a major issue for her in terms of her professionalism. There are certain misconducts which according to the above-mentioned guidelines and codes of the nursing organization was considered to be breaking the legal and ethical standards of her profession. These issues are discussed in the below-mentioned assessment with the proper association of them to the nursing codes, standards, and guidelines.

Nursing and Midwifery Board AHPRA has been working within the premises of the Australian health care system in order to guide the professionals, nursing facilities as well as patients in order to maintain a "mandatory notification" policy in condition when there has been any misconduct occurred. It has been developed in order to notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)regarding any action, step, or conduct that might have conducted by breaking any law or ethics as well as dragged the matter of public safety on danger(NMBA Code of Conduct, 2021). It is also found that any illegal act or criminal record of the nursing facility must also be assessed and reported immediately to the AHPRA in order to have proper legal consideration and guidance along with the assessment of the entire condition. It helps them take significant action against the condition in order to maintain proper legal protocol for the misconduct. Thus, focusing on the principle of mandatory notification, it has been found that Amy conducted a major crime and further did not notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) which makes her more guilty and susceptible to greater unethical practice(NMBA, 2021). It has been found that Amy was caught by the cops as she was returning from a friend’s party ad was high on alcohol and illicit drug. She was found drinking in such a condition thus her license was suspended for 6 months and was charged $1000 as a fine. Amy, being a health care professional should have reported to the entire senior clearly to AHPRA under mandatory notification as she broke the law as well as conducted an unethical and illegal act. It was necessary that Amyinstantly should have communicated with her superior as well as the AHPRA which would have helped her maintain professionals and ethical consideration in her profession. Though with the fear of losing her license as a nursing professional as well as getting suspended from work, she kept hiding the issue from the professional and didn't report back to AHPRA. She despite having proper knowledge and idea about the ethics and legal procedure chose to hide the issue and break the legal norm of the nursingpracticeofAustralia which makes her susceptible to many severe penalties (Arroyo, 2020). It is possible that the APHRA can immediately check her criminal record as soon as she graduates to find the detailed accusation she was penalized with and make her fall into more severe consequences. Thus, it is concluded that not managing and maintaining mandatory notification to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) by Amy was one of the unethical as well as unprofessional acts conducted as being a nurse (Mata, Hendricks & Jacob, 2019).

Under the mandatory notification policy and Obligations of the Nursing and Midwifery Board Code AHPRA as well as, there isanother guideline which states that may misconduct or error in a health care setting by any professional must be immediately reported to the higher authority as well as the AHPRA(NMBA, 2021). It is found that any error or misconduct may have a major influence on the health as well as well being of the patent, health care facilities as well as public. It thus makes it mandatory to immediately report the issue to the higher authority in order to ensure significant step is taken into account to avoid any changes of hazard, rick or public health complication. Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has been working within the premises of nursing roles and responsibility in order to guide the nurses with the proper method as well as a protocol under which they need to work as well as guide others to develop professionally(NMBA Code of Conduct, 2021). Thus, it is necessary for the nurses to report and maintain the informed practice for themselves as well as others in order to ensure the best care and service is provided to the public. Focusing on the case scenario of Amy, it has been found that even after continuously observing the incidence of open medication cabinets for the past few days, Amy did not report the issue to the higher authority. She neglected the condition every day and did not mention or try to take action by mentioning the seniors to manage the issues. An open medication cabinet can lead to many issues such as misplacement of medication, or contamination as well as to smuggle of drugs which may lead to major health care issues for the setting as well as the patients. Thus, focusing on the condition as well as the policy of mandatory notification, it was necessary for Amy to immediately report back to the higher authority and make sure that the cabinet is closed and locked by the designated nurse (McDonald & Then 2019). It was necessary as the neglected attitude of the nurse who was responsible for the medication locker should have been addressed and managed as thus, professional practice of Amy, as well as other nurses, would have been safely developed.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA)is known to function and process under the guidance and rules proposed by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law which is constant for local, state as well as territorial health care organizations (Erwin & Brownson, 2017). It focuses on providing guidance, regulation, and structure to the roles and responsibilities of nurses in order to ensure effectiveness, and standard care and treatment are provided to every individual without any complication or threat to the protection of the people (Milligan et al., 2021). The codes of Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) AHPRA have been known to function on legal requirements as well as professional conduct of nurse’s roles in their respective grounds. They have been guiding the nurses to avoid any association with illegal or unlawful acts as it may harm their professional grounds as well as health or others(NMBA Code of Conduct, 2021). According to the Code of Conduct of Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), Lawful behavior explains the fact that nursing facilities must practice their roles and responsibilities honestly as well as ethically with maintaining proper rules and legal norms of their profession. It is necessary that they must not get involved in any unethical and unlawful incidents and behaviors during or after their working shift or lifestyle as it might have a major impact on their professional practice as well as hamper their service and professionalism(NMBA, 2021). In the case of Amy, it was found that initially, she broke the lawful behavior code of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) by getting involved in the consumption of illicit drugs and driving which initially was unethical as well as unlawfully act. Later it was found that she took the opportunity of the open cabinet of medication and stole sleeping pills as well as a painkiller which she used for her own purpose to initiate sleep and supply painkiller to her friends. It was accounted to be another unethical and unlawful conduct as stealing and misuse of authority and resources of health care setting is known to be a criminal offense under the code of Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) (Pelling et al., 2019). Focusing on the case scenario of Amy it can be stated that the step taken by Amy is known to be an unethical act of being a nurse and accounts for cancelation or suspension of nursing license. It is so because her act is known to have a major consequence of self-harm as well as developing threats to others within the health care setting. It has a major impact on her professional role as well as reputation. The condition becomes much critical when Amy hides the entire scenario and does not inform authorities and continues with her offensive act within the work premises.

In order to conclude, it can be stated that nursing facilities have been one of the critical professional organization which has been serving the health care setting with greater health benefits and patient satisfaction. From the case study of Amy, it has been found that being a nurse clearly identifies the need of maintaining ethical and legal decor in their professional as well as the personal ground. It was found that Amy was indulged in the criminal act of using the illicit drug and further drinking after taking drugs and consuming alcohol. Later it was found that she did not maintain the protocol of mandatory notification to AHPRA even after having a proper idea of the policy that she needs to immediately notify the origination about the act. It has been found that obligation has been one of the codes of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) AHPRA along with mandatory notification which was hampered in the case of Amy as she did not report the issue of the open cabinet of medication to the superiors and used it as an opportunity to steal medication for her own use as well as distribution to others. It consequently disrupted the code of lawful behavior of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) as she used illicit drugs as well as stole medication in order to use it for her own purpose as well as deliver it to others.

Reference List:
Arroyo, D. (2020). AHPRA, Mistrust, and Medical Culture in Australia. Australian Medical Student Journal, 10(1). Retrieved from: AHPRA-Mistrust-and-Medical-Culture-in-Australia.pdf (

Erwin, P. C., & Brownson, R. C. (2017). The public health practitioner of the future. American journal of public health, 107(8), 1227-1232.

Haddad, L. M., & Geiger, R. A. (2018). Nursing ethical considerations. Retrieved from: Mata, G., Hendricks, J., & Jacob, E. (2019). Being a safe and ethical practitioner. Retrieved from: McDonald, F., & Then, S. N. (2019). Ethics, law and health care: A guide for nurses and midwives. Macmillan International Higher Education. Retrieved from: Ethics, Law and Health Care: A Guide for Nurses and Midwives - Fiona McDonald (Law lecturer), Shih-Ning Then - Google Books

Milligan, E., West, R., Saunders, V., Bialocerkowski, A., Creedy, D., Minniss, F. R., ... & Vervoort, S. (2021). Achieving cultural safety for Australia’s First Peoples: a review of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency-registered health practitioners’ Codes of Conduct and Codes of Ethics. Australian Health Review.

NMBA Code of Conduct. (2021). Retrieved 13 May 2021, from

NMBA. (2021). Retrieved 13 May 2021, from

Pelling, N. J. (2019). General ethical principles. The Elements of Ethical Practice: Applied Psychology Ethics in Australia, 9. Retrieved from: The Elements of Ethical Practice: Applied Psychology Ethics in Australia - Google Books

Rudge, T., & Toffoli, L. (2019). Advancing nursing in the Australian health care system. Understanding the Australian Health Care System, 373. Retrieved from: Understanding the Australian Health Care System - Google Books


Related Samples

Question Bank

Looking for Your Assignment?

Search Assignment
Plagiarism free Assignment









9/1 Pacific Highway, North Sydney, NSW, 2060
1 Vista Montana, San Jose, CA, 95134