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SA Does Good Samaritan law cover nursing students?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by nursestudent, 13 May 2014.

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  1. nursestudent

    nursestudent Member

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    I'm currently studying nursing in South Australia and looking to join the workforce in the near future.

    My legal question is: is there is a Good Samaritan law in South Australia? Does this law protect nursing students holding a student visa?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Denise I

    Denise I Active Member

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    Yes, there is a Good Samaritan Law in Australia.

    One of the definitions of Good Samaritan is:
    • a person who, acting without expectation of payment or other consideration, comes to the aid of a person who is apparently in need of emergency assistance; or
    • a medically qualified person who, acting without expectation of payment or other consideration, gives advice by telephone or some other form of telecommunication about the treatment of a person who is apparently in need of emergency medical assistance. ("Medically qualified"—a person is to be regarded as medically qualified if the person— has professional qualifications in some field of health care that are statutorily recognised.)
    By this definition, this covers anyone.

    You can see the full definition in this link: CIVIL LIABILITY ACT 1936 (South Australia) - Section 74 which says that:
    • A good samaritan incurs no personal civil liability for an act or omission done or made in good faith and without recklessness in assisting a person in apparent need of emergency assistance.
    • A medically qualified good samaritan incurs no personal civil liability for advice given about the assistance to be given to a person in apparent need of emergency medical assistance.

    Personal Opinion Only
     
  3. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Nursing students are sometimes taught that nurses have
    • some sort of legal duty to stop and render assistance, and/ or
    • some kind of additional liability personally,
    because they are a nurse, that is above and beyond
    that of the everyday private citizen.

    As a matter of law this is not correct.
    The South Australian Act cited
    above is a good example of why not.

    In my experience, Nursing academics can become quite foot-stampy about this question.
    This is sometimes because they are confusing either or both of professional ethics ("internal expectation")
    and what the public expects ("external expectation"), with legal duty.

    Also, until you are registered with AHPRA, you are not a "nurse",
    you are simply a private "layman" citizen.
     
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  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Upon further thought, allow me to offer the following suggestions:
    1. In terms of the law of negligence, being on a student visa is irrelevant.
      The the law applies to you just the same as it does to PRs and citizens.

    2. If you are working as an AIN, PCA or similar while you are a student,
      then be very careful not let your employer require you
      (or pressure you, or even just allow you) to do work
      outside your scope of practice.

    3. While a student, I strongly suggest that you do NOT treat/ nurse/ care for family and/or friends
      (outside of genuine emergencies, of course).
      The civil liability protections are not really intended for that.
     
  5. nursestudent

    nursestudent Member

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    Thank you Denise and Tim for taking time to answer my question! :)
     

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