My Nurse, the Lawyer; My Lawyer, the Nurse

In the future, doctors and patients may not be so flippant in their behavior toward nurses, as sometimes happens, since that nurse might also be a lawyer and well aware of a nurse’s rights and how to go about defending them legally. More seriously, the expansion of the professional and legal responsibility of health-care workers has led the University to adopt an innovative program preparing one to become both a Registered Nurse and a Bar Certified Attorney-at-Law.

The five-year course of study, including practical experience during the summers, will be limited to a select group of students who meet the standards for both programs. The small numbers admitted will enable a cautious launching of this new and ambitious program as well as controlled entrance into the labor market.

Often the professional literature hints at new areas of concern in different fields. The field of nurse/nursing accountability high-jumped in interest between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s, judging by the five-fold increase in average number of academic articles published over this period: from 7-8 a year between 1975 and 1979 to 40 a year between 1990 and 1994.

As the nurse in various areas of activity becomes less an aide de camp to a physician, the traditional role, and more of a professional required in her/his own right, legal studies will enable taking on such new functions as organ transplant coordinator, manager of a geriatric center, or nurse practitioner with greater spheres of responsibility.

Moreover, new positions have opened up requiring knowledge of both health care and law to be most effective: risk management and quality control, patient rights and ethics committees, formulating health policies, investigative committees, especially when dealing with matters of psychiatry, geriatrics, and childbirth.

The University’s pioneering venture into this combination of law and nursing joins another ambitious interdisciplinary health-care program that is offered as reported on in the previous issue of Focus, that of law and medicine.

Cultivating Good Citizenship by Studying Law

In addition to its legal-aid clinics for indigent clients, whether claimants or defendants, the Faculty of Law has taken its legal talent further into the community. Together with the University’s External Studies Unit, the Faculty has developed a matriculation-level course of study for high school students.

“Israeli Law—Education for Citizenship and Social Responsibility,” as the course is entitled, does not pretend to turn youth into budding attorneys. Its objective is to strengthen the foundations of democracy in Israel. The program, which has received Ministry of Education approval, attempts to do this by drawing the youngsters closer to the various aspects of the legal system through a familiarity with its structure, thinking processes, and performance. It hopes to impart tools for analytical and critical thinking, based on knowledge, understanding, and implementation.

In order to prepare high school teachers to teach the innovative course, the Faculty of Education’s Department of In-service Training and Continuing Education offers special training sessions in conjunction with members of the Law Faculty. Principals of schools interested in offering the course are the first to undergo this training. Though the program is not intended as a do-it-yourself legal kit, it’s safe to assume that school officials will need to be quite conversant with the law once the youngsters start taking this course.

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