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Medicolegal Issues

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Medicolegal Issues

The practice nurse role is constantly adapting and expanding and this brings increasing responsibility. It is important that we understand the implications of litigation and that we remain constantly vigilant and mindful to protect ourselves as nursing professionals, honouring our professional code of conduct and working within our realms of competence.1 While our GP employers may have legal responsibility for any actions or omissions of their employees (vicarious liability) it has always been advised that nurses have their own indemnity arrangement and keep this updated.2 Importantly, it is now a legal requirement for nurses to hold an appropriate indemnity arrangement in order to be registered with the NMC.

This resource, consisting of five assessment questions at basic level, tests your knowledge of medicolegal issues relevant to the day-to-day work of practice nurses. Complete the resource, including reading the featured articles and undertaking some or all of the activities, to obtain a certificate for one hour of continuing professional development to include in your annual portfolio.

Learning outcomes

After studying the MCQs you will be able to:

  • Understand the legal imperative for working within your competency
  • Appreciate the importance of facilitating informed consent
  • Identify key issues for maintaining good medical records
  • Recognise the importance of caution when addressing patient confidentiality
  • Understand the principles supporting safe, effective telephone triage
  • Appreciate the need for timely and appropriate referral


1. Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008) Code of professional conduct: standards for conduct, performance and ethics. Available at:

2. Medical Protection Society. Nursing jeopardy Your Practice 2011;5 (4)

Practice Nurse featured articles

The importance of clinical protocols and training Diane Baylis, Medical Protection Society

Gaining consent Diane Baylis, Medical Protection Society

Minimising the risks in telephone triage Diane Baylis, Medical Protection Society

The importance of good medical records Kate Taylor, Medical Protection Society

When to refer Kate Taylor, Medical Protection Society

Recommended reading

NMC Professional indemnity insurance: A New requirement for registration:

Further education and training

Please follow the link below to relevant Education for Health training

Essentials of primary care nursing