Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Ethical and Legal Aspects of Mental Health Nursing

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Mental Health

DESCRIPTION The study-unit covers ethical values, personal and institutional, ethics as a personal construct - values and beliefs; culture and multi-culture issues, the provision of mental health care within a interrelated, culturally diverse, environment; the ethics of the caring relationship; codes and declarations, making ethical decisions, ethical dilemmas; confidentiality, respect, trustworthiness, maintaining competence, patient safety and compliance; Mental health Act (Malta) plus updates, EU Human Rights legislation, consent to treatment and their implications for practice.

Study-unit Aims:

To provide the student with the necessary information to be able to practice within the requirements of the law, in an ethical and respectful manner, whilst delivering the best quality of care available at that time.

To be able to strike a balance between clinical expectations and legal requirements.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Identify key aspects of the theory of ethical practice to mental health nursing;
- Describe human rights legislation as it relates to the delivery of mental health care;
- Outline clinical activities where ethical considerations place both nurse and patient at their most vulnerable;
- Identify the section of the Mental Health Act ( Malta) in relation to treatment, observation, support and recovery, plus any other in relation to service provision;
- Describe development in mental health service standards and audit;
- Relate human Rights legislation to the provision of ethical and effective mental health nursing.

2. Skills (including transferable [generic] skills):
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Work in a legally effective way within a mental health practice environment;
- Work in an ethically effective way within a mental health practice environment;
- Demonstrate respect and dignity within both with the patient and on their behalf.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Health Department (1992) Mental Health Act (Malta)
- Burnard, P. & Chapman, C. (2000) Professional and ethical issues in nursing. Bailliere Tindall. London.
- Tschudin, V. (2003) Ethics in Nursing: the caring relationship (3rd Ed). Butterworth Heinenamm. London.
- McHale, J. & Gallagher, A. (2003) Nursing and Human Rights. Butterworth Heinemann. London.
- Benson, J. & Thistlethwaite, J. (2009) Mental health across cultures: a practical guide for health professionals. Radcliffe Publishing, Oxford.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Classwork SEM2 Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.