Book Reviews

Law for Nurses and Midwives 7th Edition 2013

Patricia Staunton
AM RN, CM, LLB, MCrim; Barrister-at-Law of the Inner Temple, London

Professor Mary Chiarella
RN, RM, LLB (Hons), PhD (UNSW)

Churchill Livingstone Sydney 2013
ISBN: 9780729581028

Type and scope of book
This the seventh edition to the successful book law for nurses and midwives. First printed in 1985 this is a comprehensive 7th edition book insightfully examining the law in relation to nursing or midwifery practice, and managerial issues. The 7th edition includes changes to the law in relationship to national registration. This book serves introductory overall read to law and healthcare. The book also is a reference book on law for clinical practitioners and health managers.


Chapter 1
Introduction to the law

Chapter 2
The relationship between law and ethics

Chapter 3
Professional negligence and vicarious liability

Chapter 4
Consent to treatment

Chapter 5
The contract of employment, including occupational health and safety and worker compensation

Chapter 6
The administration of drugs

Chapter 7
Report writing

Chapter 8
The professional regulation of nurses and midwives

Chapter 9
Coronial jurisdiction

Chapter 10
Human tissue transplantation

Chapter 11
Mental Health

The main strength of the book is the language of the writers. All topics are clearly explained with appropriate examples and references to case law. This leaves the reader with no doubt of what is the correct legal position. The chapter have flow that allows the reader to learn and build knowledge.

Both authors are well known in nursing circles. They both have a great reputation and standing in Australia due to the respective titles and positions of employment. This 7th edition shows the maturity of development from the previous editions.

Contained in the book is the reference back to case law. This serves and backbone to the book. Information and best practice suggestions are based in case law and the lessons of others in the law.

The book contains a great chapter on report writing. This area is an area of great concern and problems to many emergency nurses. This chapter clears up many misconceptions that many nurses assume or write appears. This chapter sets the benchmark for report writing in the eyes of the law.

There is an inclusion of the new Australian national registration and accreditation scheme. This change to registration and its effects and implications have been closely examined. This leaves the reader with no doubt to the professional regulation and responsibilities.

There is a large section on mental health the different state laws and approaches. This is an essential read for nurses working in this area of nursing and working across state boarders. It highlights the same, same but different interpretations that the different states and the laws operate that they operate under.

The first chapter takes a little time to get the reader interested in the rest of the book. Although an important overall picture of the law. The book covers only scant picture of the depth of the law and the statutory bodies and hierarchies.

The mental health chapter could have had more detail on the treatment of mental health patients and the use of restraint. This is a major problem for emergency nurses and the reviewer is not clear on the direction of the law in regard to this clinical issue.

There could have been more information on violence to healthcare workers. What rights and protections are given to healthcare worker under the law. There could have been clear guidance given to the staff behaviour that are considered acceptable under the law. The book just concludes that this has been ignored in the past. More detail might have highlighted this issue further.

There is no chapter dedicated to the practice of Midwives. Although titled in the book perhaps more dedication would have been more appropriate.

Recommended readership
It is a book that all nursing managers should have in their library. This can be used in reference and reading in relation to the big decisions on operational structures in their services. It is a book that is recommended to any nursing or midwifery practitioner. The knowledge any practitioner should be familiar with. The book would be an appropriate textbook for a student nurse undertaking that subject at university.

Overall rating
A really nice book. This seventh edition should be another success for the Staunton, Chiarella team. It comprehensive approach makes this book a stand out. The clear illustration in the writing will leave the reader in a clearer picture to where there practice or management lies with the scope of the law. It is an edition that will serve the reader in 2013 and is a good reflection of where we stand in 2013 and beyond.