Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing


The branch of philosophy that concerns the distinction between right and wrong based on a body of knowledge

Ethical Principles


Respect for an individual’s right to self-determination


The obligation to do or cause no harm to another


The duty to do good to others


The equitable distribution of potential benefits and tasks


The obligation to tell the truth


The duty to do what one has promised


Taking personal responsibility for one’s conduct.


Using force, threats, or intimidation to make a person comply with a demand. 

Ethical dilemma

A situation in which two or more potential actions appear to be equally justifiable from an ethical point of view, i.e. one must choose between the lesser of two evils or the greater of two goods.


Repeatedly annoying, bothering, or intimidating someone.

Peer review

The process of using experts within a scientific or academic discipline (or peers) to evaluate articles submitted for publication, grant proposals, or other materials.


The misrepresenting someone else’s creative work (e.g. words, methods, pictures, ideas, or data) as one’s own.

Quality control/quality assurance

The processes for planning, conducting, monitoring, overseeing, and auditing an activity (such as research) to ensure that it meets appropriate standards of quality.


The ability to test a hypothesis or theory. Scientific hypotheses and theories should be testable.

Ethical Terms and Definitions

Advance directive

A written document that provides directions concerning the provision of care at the end of life (regarding treatment and death care)


A violation of civil law against a person or a person’s property. A tort is different from a crime, but serious tort can be tried in both civil and criminal action.

Unintentional Torts

a) Malpractice

Failure to meet the standards of acceptable care, which results in harm to another person

b) Negligence

Negligence is conduct that falls below the standard of care. In science, research that is sloppy, careless, or poorly planned or executed may be considered negligent


Actually touching or wounding a person in an offensive manner with or without the intent to harm


An intentional wrong that violates societal law punishable by the state; the state is the complainant

Felony: Serious crime, such as murder, punishable by a prison term

Misdemeanor: A less serious crime that is punishable by a fine and/ or a short-term imprisonment

AIIMS Raipur Previous Nursing Questions and Answers

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