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Title : nursing professional requirements

Manic depression,” refers to a mental illness that is often characterized by regularly changing moods. The progression of the illness disrupts the hormonal and neuro-physiological system. Mentally challenged clients are considered as the most vulnerable people living in the society, they are categorized as the most endangered species in the community and the entire planet at large. Most of the Australian mental health acts If not all, involves the care and treatment of both voluntary and involuntary patients (Elder and Evans, 2009).

Mental health nursing is one of the most interesting areas of nursing practice which requires professional skills, experience and knowledge. The client may refuse to under go treatment as clearly evident in the case of Rennie vs. Klein (1993). Therefore, for a client to be detained, the following ingredients must be proven under reasonable circumstances:

  • The patient must appear to be mentally challenged

  • Immediate medication is required and can be attained in an efficient mental health institution.

  • And due to the client illness, he needs to be detained for admiration of treatment either for his self protection or the public at large.

Coercion can be used to any client who fails to comply with the doctor’s requirement. The rule here is that treatment will reduce the symptoms of mental illness. However, patients have the right to appeal, which is often heard through a setting a sitting of the territory Guardianship Board (Elder, Evans and Nizatte, 2002).

Both legal and ethical issues impose on all aspects of care. Understanding of legal and ethical issues for nursing students will help them when caring and managing clients/patients appropriately. Each and every aspect of nursing has a potential impinge on the clients physical and psychological awareness. Professionally qualified nurses and nursing students are often concerned with legal practice of nursing and are tackled with legal and ethical issues, dilemmas as well as challenges almost every day (Harrion 2000).

If Patient agrees to be admitted in the hospital, some of his/her ability to make autonomous decisions will be snatched away from him/her. Respecting Peters decision can result in conflict, raise ethical dilemmas and may not be straight forward. Any competent adult patient can refuse treatment (Peter). However, if a patient is said to be incompetent then the overriding of his wishes may be permitted, although this must be fully justified both professionally and legally (Peate and Offredy 2006).

In order for client to be admitted to the hospital, he must consent. Patients have the right to self determination to his body. Failure to comply with the client may result to legal action (a charge of battery) and if the psychiatric and the officer harm the patient in any way, they will be charged for negligence. For clients consent to be valid, the following ingredients must be considered;

  • consent is informed

  • the patient is competent

  • consent is voluntarily

the general principle of the rule of law in relation to consent depend upon an individual having mental capacity, or rather state of mind, either to agree or disagree with the proposed treatment. The law clearly stipulates that a choice must be given to the client to agree to or to refuse treatment (Videbeck 2010). A choice cannot be valid if it has been induced by insufficient information, deceit or fraud. At the same time, a choice cannot be made by an incapacitated individual. However, this does not mean that an individual with mental disorder is considered by law as incapable of making decisions/choice.

Fluctuations in capacity prevent proper judgment. When this occurs, the law will intervenes and treatment can be given without the patients consent (peters). The Mental Health Act of 1983 empowers the doctors as well as nurses to issue treatment, even if the clients understand the choice and the results/ consequences, but simply refuses. It should be clearly understood that the powers to impose treatment will only apply to a client who is mentally challenged (Heath 1995).

Under the Suicide Act of 1961, it states that, it is an offence to assist someone to commit suicide. Each and every patient who is considered to be mentally competent has the right to refuse treatment. This right was upheld by the court of appeal in Re T, of 1992. It is accepted that an adult (competent) can refuse treatment even if the penalties for not receiving treatment will amount to death. When the client or patient refuses treatment and eventually dies, the court will not consider such client as having committed suicide.

It is therefore the responsibilities of the nurses to ensure that the client autonomous is fully granted. During depressive stages in bipolar disorder, the patients may be able to make decision for their treatment and there are other occasions when the client cannot make a choice. Nurses and the nursing students should be sympathetic with this people. They should respect the client’s decision when they are fully capable of determining how they wish to conduct their affairs (Heath 1995). However, if the patient proves to be a danger to himself and other people, the law empowers physician and peace officers to detain such clients.

Legal and professional requirement states that mental health professionals must seek the best treatment for their clients. Legal and professional requirement states that if a patient posse’s danger to himself or herself, the appropriate professional must immediately be notified of the incident (Malley and Reilly 2000). This statement is clearly evident where Peter’s mother informs Peters Doctor when he had a gun. Dangerousness to self due to suicide attempts is an issue that arises in cases involving professional liability, it pertains to involuntary civic commitment, for which the requisite standard of proof is higher than in professional cases. A strong case must be reported to the professional in charge of any threat to commit suicide.

Vague indication is insufficient to meet the requisite level. Mental Health Professionals are required to discharge an involuntary client unless “the balance should tilt in the direction of the treatment as well as rehabilitative benefits of the discharge”, and there must be an urgent reason for patients admission , in this case, Peter getting hold of a gun is urgent (Parry and Drogin 2007). According to Queensland Mental Health Act of 2000, Peter can be taken to the health institution, by a health practitioner/ ambulance officer whose documents are in force with an authorized mental institution. However, in the process of initiating involuntary assessment, the ambulance officer as well the health practitioner must act with due care and skills (diligence), not to harm the client any way.


Peter claims her cannot be forced to consent is not correct. Based on his medical history, he has made several attempts to commit suicide; this is enough evidence for involuntary detention, most especially because his mother acts in Peter’s best interest. The medical Health Professional (Doctors) owes Peter a duty of care, in the process of administering involuntary admission, the officers aught to be careful not to inflict any bodily harm, otherwise, they will be charged for negligent on the part of the defendant (Peter). The first step taken by Peter’s mother is said to be ideal on this case. Therefore peter cannot refuse to be hospitalized.


Elder, Ruth, and Katie Evans. Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. Australia : Elsevier Australia, 2009.

Elder, Ruth, Katie Evans, and Debra Nizatte. Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. Australia : Vaughn Curtis Publisher, 2002.

Harrion, Lois. Professional Practical/Vocational Nursing. New York : Cengage Learning, 2000.

Heath, Hazel B. M. Potter and Perry’s foundations in nursing theory and practice. Australia: Elsevier Health Sciences, 1995.

Malley, Patrick B., and Eileen Petty Reilly. Legal and ethical dimensions for mental health professionals. Australia: Taylor & Francis, 2000.

Parry, John, and Eric York Drogin. Mental disability law, evidence, and testimony: a comprehensive reference manual for lawyers, judges, and mental disability professionals. New York: American Bar Association, 2007.

Peate, Ian, and Maxine Offredy. Becoming a nurse in the 21st century. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2006.

Videbeck, Sheila L. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing. Australia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010.