An appraisal of the knowledge held by graduate students in nursing concerning the legal aspects of nursing
Driscoll, Rita Dorothea
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STATEMENT OF PROBLEM This study is an appraisal of the knowledge held by graduate students in nursing concerning the legal aspects of nursing. Statement of Hypothesis Graduate students in nursing have limited knowledge of the legal aspects of nursing. METHODOLOGY The sample chosen for study consisted of forty graduate students in nursing who were enrolled in a teacher education program. The study was done in the Spring of 1963 in a school of nursing which was an integral part of a large university in a metropolitan area of New England. A tool consisting of fifty true-false statements was designed to collect the data. These statements were concerned with law as it relates to the nursing profession. To establish the validity of the tool, it was submitted to a qualified attorney at a Law-Medical Research Institute for his consideration. He found the items to be valid in accordance with established criteria. The investigator administered the tool to the graduate students in a classroom setting. Each item on the tool had a value of two and a perfect score on the total tool of one hundred. FINDINGS A statistical analysis of the data showed the following: 1. The mean score was seventy-one; the median and the mode were seventy-two. 2. The standard deviation was 6.07 and the range of scores was from fifty-two to eighty-four. 3. A chi-square test for goodness of fit showed that the data could have arisen from a normally distributed population. A chi-square of 4.43 was obtained which was not significant at the five per cent level. 4. The application of the F test to the data showed that there was no significant difference among the means on the subtests. 5. Product-moment coefficients of correlation were found to be significant at the one per cent level between over-all knowledge of the test and knowledge of the items in the following categories: (1) relation of a nurse's rights and liabilities to her position and status, (2) negligence and malpractice, (3) torts and crimes, and (4) contracts for nursing. The correlation ratio between the questions concerned with the legal status of the nurse and over-all knowledge was found to be significant at the five per cent level. The correlation ratios between over-all knowledge and the items relating to the practice of nursing and witnesses and wills were insignificant. 6. Three of the test items were answered correctly by less than one-third of the selected sample. These items were concerned with (1) the use of textbooks as evidence in malpractice cases, (2) the status of nursing students in hospital schools of nursing, and (3) slander and libel. CONCLUSIONS From the data obtained in this study, the investigator concluded that graduate students in nursing have limited knowledge of the legal aspects of nursing and therefore, the hypothesis of the study was substantiated. The majority of the selected sample answered three of the questions incorrectly. These items were concerned with slander and libel, the use of textbooks as evidence in malpractice cases, and the status of the nursing students in hospital schools of nursing.[TRUNCATED]
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