Full Title:Ethical and Legal Practice
Language of Instruction:English
Module Code:LAW N8010
Credits: 5
Valid From:Semester 1 - 2015/16 ( September 2015 )
Module Delivered in 2 programme(s)
Module Description:This module will provide the student with the requisite knowledge and skills required to deliver culturally sensitive midwifery care that is legally and ethically sound.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to
  1. Evaluate the legal context for the accountability of the midwife within the framework established by legislation.
  2. Consider the other areas of legal accountability applicable to midwifery practice including professional negligence, consent and capacity, confidentiality and record keeping.
  3. Evaluate the ethical and legal issues connected with conception, pregnancy and maternity care.
  4. Analyse ethical issues in midwifery using ethical theories and principles.

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
The statutory framework for the regulation and accountability of the midwife.
The Nurses and Midwives Act 2011, the role of the Nursing and Midwifery Board, registration and fitness to practice, the code of professional conduct.
Professional negligence and midwifery practice
The test of medical negligence, the 'Dunne' principles, application of the principles to midwifery practice by the Irish courts, the role and view of the Nurses and Midwives Board, the requirement to hold professional indemnity insurance.
the legal issues connected with conception, pregnancy and maternity
The constitutional framework as defined by Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution. Judicial interpretation of this provision. Legal issues relating to beginning of life, family law, and child protection. The development of a legal response to bioethical issues such as surrogacy, genetic parent etc.
Ethics: (midwifery specific).
Ethical Theories and ethical principles: Beneficence, Autonomy, Truth telling, Confidentially, Justice, Integrity. Application of the theories and principles to practice. Ethical issues around beginning of life, for example: assisted human reproduction (AHR), termination of pregnancy, organ retention. Issues involving the wider family, adoption and surrogacy. Human Rights issues, International codes and treaties. Ethical dilemmas: Current and typical ethical dilemmas and legal cases related to healthcare and in particular to midwifery and obstetrics will be discussed in class.
Ethical and legal dilemmas related to medication management.
Assessment Breakdown%
End of Module Formal Examination100.00%

Full Time

No Course Work
No Project
No Practical
End of Module Formal Examination
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Formal Exam Assessment of learning outcomes will be by an end of term final examination in order to assess all learning outcomes 1,2,3,4 100.00 0 0 End-of-Semester 0
Reassessment Requirement
A repeat examination
Reassessment of this module will consist of a repeat examination. It is possible that there will also be a requirement to be reassessed in a coursework element.

DKIT reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload & Resources

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture This module is normally delivered over 12 weeks 4.00 Every Week 4.00
Directed Reading No Description 36.00 Once per semester 2.40
Independent Study No Description 36.00 Once per semester 2.40
Total Weekly Learner Workload 8.80
Total Weekly Contact Hours 4.00
This course has no Part Time workload.
Recommended Book Resources
  • Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann 2014, The Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives, Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann Dublin
  • Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann 2015, The Practice Standards for Midwives, Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann Dublin
  • Harding Clark, M. 2006, The Lourdes Hospital Inquiry: An inquiry into peripartum hysterectomy at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda., The Stationary Office Dublin
  • Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) 2015, Report of the investigation into the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the Health Service Executive to patients in the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) Dublin
  • Knight M, Kenyon S, Brocklehurst P, Neilson J, Shakespeare J, Kurinczuk JJ (Eds.) on behalf of MBRRACE-UK 2014, Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Lessons learned to inform future maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2009–12., National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford. Oxford
  • Francis R 2013, Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, The Stationery office. London
  • An Bord Altranais 2007, Guidance to Nurses and Midwives Regarding Ethical Conduct of Nursing and Midwifery Research, An Bord Altranais Dublin
  • Kirkup, B. 2015, The Report of the Morecambe Bay Investigation. An independent investigation into the management, delivery and outcomes of care provided by the maternity and neonatal services at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, The Stationary Office London
  • Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) 2012, Investigation into the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the Health Service Executive to patients, including pregnant women, at risk of clinical deterioration, including those provided in University Hospital Galway, and as reflected in, HIQA Dublin
  • Dooley, D. & McCarthy, J. 2012, Nursing Ethics: Irish Cases and Concerns, 2nd.Ed. Ed., Gill & Macmillan Dublin.
  • Yeo, M. and Moorhouse, A. (eds.) 2010, Concepts and Cases in Nursing Ethics, 3rd. Ed. Ed., Broadview Press Peterborough, Ont., Canada.
  • Neil Van Dokkum, Nursing Law for Students in Ireland, 2nd edition Ed., 16, Gill & Macmillan Ltd Dublin [ISBN: 9780717149872]
  • Jones, S. 2000, Ethics in Midwifery., 2nd Edition Ed., Mosby. London.
  • Frith. L, & Draper, H. 2004, Ethics and Midwifery: Issues in Contemporary Practice, 2nd Edition Ed., Books for Midwives London.
  • Association for Improvements in Maternity Services in Ireland (AIMSI) 2014, What Matters to You?; A Maternity Care Experience Survey, AIMSI Dublin
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Gallagher, A. & Hodge, S.(eds) 2012, Ethics, Law and Professional Issues. A Practice Based Approach for Health Professionals, Palgrave Macmillan London.
  • Griffith, R.,Tengnah, C. & Patel, C. 2010, Law and Professional Issues in Midwifery., Learning Matters Ltd. Exeter.
Recommended Article/Paper Resources
  • Traynor, M 2014, Caring after Francis: Moral failure in nursing reconsidered, Journal of Research in Nursing, 19 (7–8), 546
  • Paley J 2014, Cognition and the compassion deficit: The social psychology of helping behaviour in nursing, Nursing Philosophy, 15 (4), 274
  • Matthews, A., & Scott, P. A. 2008, Perspectives on midwifery power: An exploration of the findings of the Inquiry into peripartum hysterectomies at the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, Ireland, Nursing Inquiry, 15(2), 127
Other Resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
DK_NMWIF_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Midwifery 6 Mandatory
nocode24 Bachelor of Science in Health Studies (Midwifery) Exit Award 6 Mandatory