Nursing courses have, for a long time, paid relatively little attention to the law. When it has been referred to it has often been seen as a series of constraints or threats: ‘Do not do that or you will be legally liable.’ The image has almost been of the courts waiting to catch someone out. Little attention has been paid to ways in which the law can help both nurses and their patients. This is not surprising. Attempts to use the law to gain greater resources for the NHS have failed. In marked contrast with the USA, it has been involved in few of the major changes in attitudes and services such as in community care and the introduction of the nursing process.
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