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Ms B and legal competence: examining the role of nurses in difficult ethico-legal decision-making


  • Author: B Goodman, MSc Nursing, BSc Hons Sociology & Politics, PGDE, Cert Ed FEATC, RGN, RNT, Senior Lecturer, University of Plymouth, Institute of Health ­Studies, Cornwall

University of Plymouth, Institute of Health Studies, Cornwall, Trevenson Lane, Pool, Cornwall TR15 3RG


  • The case of Ms B throws up some interesting issues regarding the role of the nurse in assisting patients in making and implementing their decisions
  • The High Court transcript makes it clear who the voices with influence in legal matters were, and why the decisions they took were made
  • Absent from the myriad voices is that of the profession of nursing. Are nurses silenced by professional boundaries, the legal framework or lack of confidence?
  • The concept of nursing advocacy is once again thrown into relief and critical questions need asking about the limits of professional nursing practice