Essential Law and Ethics in Nursing : Patients, Rights and Decision-Making book cover
3rd Edition

Essential Law and Ethics in Nursing
Patients, Rights and Decision-Making

ISBN 9780429292187
Published July 12, 2020 by Routledge
196 Pages

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Book Description

This thoroughly updated third edition lays a solid foundation for understanding the intersection of law, ethics and the rights of the patient in the context of everyday nursing and health care practice.

Outlining the key legal and ethical principles relevant to nurses, Essential Law and Ethics In Nursing: Patients, Rights and Decision-Making, previously entitled Patients’ Rights: Law and Ethics for Nurses, uses an easy-to-read style that conveys key principles in an accessible way. It:

  • provides a clear understanding not only of basic legal provisions in health care but also of wider issues relating to human rights;
  • covers topics such as ethical decision-making, the regulation of nursing, confidentiality, laws concerning human rights, safe practice, vulnerable people, elder abuse and employment regulations; and
  • includes thinking points, case studies and relevant case law to help link theory with practice.

This is essential reading for nurses and an important reference for midwives and allied health professionals.

Table of Contents

1.Introducing ethics in health care  2.Human rights, the law  3.From beginning of life to adulthood  4.Confidentiality, Information technology  5.Consent to treatment, patient autonomy  6.First, do no harm  7.Vulnerable adults, elder abuse  8.Equality, diversity and inclusivity  9.End-of-life care, decision-making  10.Final reflection



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Paul Buka, MSc (Leic.), PGCE, LL.B (Hons) (Law), FETC (City and Guilds, 7307), HNC (Public Admin law), RN, RNT, ENB 998, ENB 923, MIHM, FHEA, Member of the Institute of Medical Ethics, is lecturer in Adult Nursing at the University of Essex, UK, specialising in healthcare law and ethics. Previously senior lecturer and Programme Lead (Overseas Nursing Programme) at the University of West London, UK. Paul undertook his nurse training in Fife, Scotland, specialising in Trauma and Orthopaedics, with clinical experience in Care of older people, Acute Medicine, Trauma and Orthopaedics and Mental Health. As a ward manager, Paul developed a keen interest in legal studies. He read law at Higher National Certificate, degree and postgraduate levels. He was keen to share with others his specialist interest (in Healthcare Law and Ethics, human rights of vulnerable people) through writing for publication, given the limited texts, on the market at the time which were suitable for students. He started teaching law in Further Education at ILEX Diploma level and subsequently Healthcare Law and Ethics in Higher Education from undergraduate to post-registration/graduate levels. He also gained experience in teaching other aspects of nurse education. Paul has authored and co-authored previous publications in this area.


"Navigating health law and its ethical ramifications can be murky and mystifying; even experts well versed in legal language find challenges in charting a steady course within the vast sea of the health care system. Too often books address this subject with exhaustive case law, providing material that is too weighty for health care professionals, whose time is confined by direct patient care and whose expertise as clinical thinkers has been uniquely moulded. Alternatively, one finds publications where concepts are dumbed down for the proclaimed readership of nurses.

This text takes the opposite approach. At its outset, Buka’s framework promises exposure to the most essential content, including ethical decision making, confidentiality, laws concerning older people, fraud and abuse, and employment regulations. This practical guide does not fall short of its aim, mastering harmonies of literary prose and technical legalese, current and historic law, and, more impressive, didactic and problem-based learning. Such judicious integration leaves the reader – regardless of role as nurse, attorney, student, teacher, or curious patient – informed and empowered…

Writing as both a legal and a nursing expert, Buka succeeds in his intention to ‘give readers a grasp of the key principles which blend together law and ethics as they relate to patients’ rights' - Reviewed by Catrina Sparacio, the College of New Jersey and Princeton University Medical Center, Princeton, NJ, USA