Nursing students crack open new textbooks

Dylan Haviland Special to the Southern News 

As fall progresses at Southern, nursing students are left with a plethora of exams to prepare for. Nursing students are seen throughout the university bustling from every hall, fully garbed in their dark blue scrubs, coffee in hand for preparation of a promising day of work. Along with their steady supply of caffeine, nursing students can also be seen carrying their textbooks, their guidelines to the upcoming exams and practices. In particular, one written by Southern professor, Susan Westrick.

This year Westrick introduced to the campus her second edition of the textbook, “Essentials of Nursing Law & Ethics.” A substantial revision of her 2009 edition, Westrick’s book introduces nursing students to the laws that are associated with their practice, and how to properly conduct themselves morally in their field.

“It’s really what governs our practice,” said nursing major and SCSU senior Steve Krozer. “It’s not the fact of whether it is addressed or not.  It’s the law so you have to follow it or don’t follow it.   What her book really does is it enables nursing students to be aware of the laws and the practices that when you are a professional you are going to be held to.”

Westrick’s new textbook tackles right into the issues that face modern day nursing.  In a professional world that is constantly changing, Westrick saw the need to inform students that new laws and medical procedures are always being implicated.

“When you are talking about medications in a lot of the older books, ones that have been written a few years ago.  They do not deal with electronic healthcare records or electronic means of administering medicine like smart pumps,” said Westrick.  “You’ll look at some of these books and they are still talking about nursing like we are doing it twenty years ago.”

Serving as an authoritative reference for nursing students of law and ethics, SCSU graduates in this competitive field will have to be aware of the disciplinary actions.  Getting the nursing position for graduates is half the battle, nursing employees will always have to be aware of their actions in their workplace and the consequences.  “As professionals we have a liability, we have to save lives and we need to know what we can and cannot do, and what we can be sued for,” said nursing major and SCSU senior Melody Rueangrung.

“There’s always these fundamental concepts of knowing the regulation of nursing, who regulates nursing which in our state is the State Board.  But for example some of the things they are doing now is disciplining nurses,” said Westrick.  She stressed that nursing majors and anyone involved in law to be responsible with social media, another new aspect she brings into her book.  In today’s world, she made it clear that nurses need to have ethics towards confidentiality when social media is involved.

In addition to her information on law and ethics, the new textbook offers students an electronic companion to go along with the law cases they review.  This innovative companion gives extra online practice along with crossword puzzles and glossary of legal terms.  Along with answers to the practice problems in the textbook, implementing different ways to study for students.

The electronic companion will be especially useful to students with the amount of new content in the revision.  Westrick explained the textbook will have an extended amount of references in the new legal cases she introduces.

“Things are changing in nursing and healthcare all the time, nurses need to know the ethical and legal implications of reducing errors in the workplace,” said Westrick.

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