Patients' Rights, Law and Ethics for Nurses: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Patients' Rights, Law and Ethics for Nurses

2nd Edition

By Paul Buka


251 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781482217391
pub: 2014-07-14
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pub: 2014-07-14
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The second edition of this acclaimed text integrates health care law and ethics in relation to patients’ rights and in the context of everyday nursing and health care practice.

Focusing on principles of law and including clear outlines of the essential legal precedent, the author lays a solid foundation for understanding the intersection of law, ethics and the rights of the patient. Comprehensive yet pocket-sized, this is essential reading for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.

  • 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, confidentiality, laws concerning older people, fraud and abuse, and employment regulations
  • Uses an easy-to-read style that conveys key principles in an accessible way
  • Includes thinking points, case studies and relevant case law to help link theory to practice


"This easy-to-read overview of various legal topics affecting healthcare is an excellent choice for nurses and other health professionals practicing in the U.K. It would be a great addition to formal nursing training as well as a supplement for practicing professionals wishing to learn more about how the law and ethics intersect … Weighted numerical score: 87 - 3 stars.

—Jeanne Marie Evans, BA (Saint Louis University School of Law), from Doody's Book Reviews™

Table of Contents

Concept of law and human rights

Sources of law

Duty of care

Classification of law

Human rights and legal obligations

Litigation and compensation systems

The NHS litigation authority

Systems of compensation

Nursing regulation and law

Ethics and patients’ rights; Sue Watkinson

What is ‘ethics’?

Ethics – its relevance for practice

Philosophical dimension on ethical values and human rights

Rights and freedom of choice

Necessity and the greater good principle

Ethical frameworks and decision-making

Ethics and the therapeutic relationship

The beginning of life to adulthood: human rights; Kathleen Chambers and Paul Buka

When does human life begin?

Childhood and the law

Parents and parental responsibility: majority age

Consent and the child


Safeguarding the vulnerable child

Information on child abuse – disclosure

Working safely with service users

In the course of employment

Keeping the patient, self and others safe



A trusting relationship

Duty of care and professional accountability

Duty of confidentiality and patient information

Communication and record keeping

Misappropriation and patients’ property

Theft or fraud

Trust and patients’ property rights

Capacity and safeguarding patient’s property rights

Gifts, strings attached and professional ethics

Consent to treatment and mental capacity

Nature of consent

Consent and human rights

Mental capacity and informed consent

Capacity to consent, human rights and best interests

Research, consent and organ donation

Vulnerable adults, older people and abuse


Key theories of abuse


Criminal law responses

Civil remedies

Public authorities and human rights

Victims with mental health needs

Interagency working and abuse

Equality and diversity

Discrimination in healthcare provision

Recent developments of the law on discrimination

Other types of discrimination

Grounds for discrimination and the law today

End of life care

Clinical decision-making


Suicide – human right or a criminal act

Do not attempt resuscitation orders

Persistent vegetative state (PVS)

Living wills/advance directives and the right to choose

The double-effect doctrine and palliative care

Crossing the rubicon – toward a slippery slope

Impact of patients rights on care

From paternalism to patient-centred care

Human rights and litigation

Human rights, policy and morals

About the Author

Paul Buka qualified as a nurse in Scotland before working there and in England. After a three-year break, he returned to practice with a keen interest in legal and ethical issues.

He read Philosophy and subsequently Law up to Postgraduate level, specialising in Healthcare Law. Paul gained education experience in Further Education, teaching law for 3 years before progressing to Higher Education. Currently lecturing in Adult Nursing, he specialises in Healthcare Law and Ethics, from undergraduate to post-graduate levels. He co-published his first book on Healthcare Law and Ethics in 1999.

Drawing invaluable inspiration from his family, his students and colleagues, he does not forget the most important player—the patient.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Medical Law & Legislation
MEDICAL / Nursing / General