1. Mikos-Schild, Sophia EdD, RN, CNOR, Column Editor

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In their roles as staff development educators, today's nurses have responsibility for many educational outcomes. To navigate these responsibilities, nurses need to be aware of many aspects of the education of staff. Two such aspects are ethical and legal issues and responsibilities. Legal and ethical issues sometimes may be difficult to understand and may lead to a search for answers from colleagues. What happens when colleagues do not know the answers; who does a nurse turn to? Often, staff development educators turn to research and professional organizations to provide answers.


As professionals, we depend on each other to discuss common issues in the profession whether they be legal or ethical. This column is planned to be such a forum to ask questions and attempt to resolve issues, keeping in mind today's research, law, and common practice. Beginning this year, I hope to assist you in looking at legal and ethical issues that affect your staff development practice. In addition, as nursing becomes more global, I will provide information on what is occurring in other nations where nursing is being practiced.


The column will feature such issues as copyright laws, plagiarism, ethics, ownership of educational documents, competency, standards of nursing practice, and fair use law. The expertise that prepares me to edit this column includes a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, a master's degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix, and a doctorate in education from Pepperdine University. I have also attended some law school classes and have maintained my interest in these issues as they affect nursing and particularly staff development. I have also published and lectured on legal aspects, risk management, competencies, and orientation in various clinical areas, such as critical care, medical surgical, labor and delivery, and surgery.


I encourage you to send questions about legal and ethical issues in staff development and training to my e-mail address. I will do the legwork to provide unbiased answers to help you in your practice. In the next column, we will begin with defining legal terms and addressing what constitutes negligence.