Ethical and Legal Aspects of Nursing

This course will discuss ethical and legal concepts relevant to the registered nurse. The content will include application of the ANA Code of Ethics, QSEN, and IOM competencies as they relate to different areas of professional nursing practice based on a framework for the development of ethical and legal competence, from recognition of an ethical or legal situation to implementation of a justifiable action. Essential communication and conflict skills will also be addressed, as well as the role of the ethics committee and ethics consultation. Course discussions will include common ethical and legal issues likely to be encountered, how to recognize and address moral distress, and ethical and legal practice as it relates to research, quality, and safety. Prerequisite: Admission to the RN-BSN Program or permission of the Director of the program.

Upon completion, students will be able to:

  • Apply the components of an ethical decision-making model to provide safe, ethical, and legal patient-centered nursing care to individuals, families, groups, and diverse populations across the lifespan.
  • Describe important components of the communication process between the health care team and patients or their surrogates as a part of ethical and legal decision making.
  • Explain how to promote ethical and legal nursing practices based on research evidence.
  • Explore personal and professional attitudes and values as they relate to ethical and legal dilemmas.
  • Employ ethically- and legally-sound decision making in the implementation of the nursing roles of member/advocate of the profession, communicator, educator, utilizer of research, life-long learner, collaborator, manager, and leader to meet current and emerging needs of individuals, families, groups, and populations in diverse, complex health care systems.
  • Integrate professional responsibility and accountability into the ethical and legal aspects of patient-centered care.

Grade Basis: Letter Grade
Credit hours: 3
Lecture hours: 3


  • Admission to the RN-BSN Program or permission of the Director of the program.

Last updated: 08/10/2021