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Digital Seminar

Legal Pitfalls in a Mental Health Crisis

Lois A Fenner-McBride, RN, MS, JD, Attorney at Law
2 Hours 02 Minutes
Audio and Video
Aug 24, 2023
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar


Mental health crises are contributing to rapid expansions of our roles as nurses. Nurses are functioning more independently with increased responsibilities and potential for legal risks. Violence, anxiety, depression, gender, substance use, isolation, suicide and other mental health issues are prevalent daily. These issues impact nursing care interventions, regardless of your environment. This seminar will show you how to continue to help the people you have been trained to help while still protecting yourself from legal pitfalls. Case studies with specific examples will be discussed providing you with “hands on” strategies for implementing safe, ethical and effective care, minimizing your legal risks exposure.


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.

* Credit Note - **

NOTE: Tuition includes one free CE Certificate (participant will be able to print the certificate of completion after passing the online post-test (80% passing score) and completing the evaluation). Instructional methods will include PowerPoint, didactic lecture, and others.

Continuing Education Information:  Listed below are the continuing education credit(s) currently available for this non-interactive self-study package. Program content is reviewed periodically per accrediting board rules for currency and appropriateness for credit. Credit approvals are subject to change. Please note, your state licensing board dictates whether self-study is an acceptable form of continuing education, as well as which credit types are acceptable for continuing education hours. Please refer to your state rules and regulations. If your profession is not listed, please contact your licensing board to determine your continuing education requirements and check for reciprocal approval. 
For other credit inquiries not specified below, please contact or 800-844-8260 before purchase.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of your profession.  As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your profession's standards.  

For Planning Committee disclosures, please see the statement above.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.

* Credit Note - ---

Earn up to 2.0 CE hours. Please see below, for more details, as credit amounts vary by state and profession. 

Nurses - Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Clinical Nurse Specialists - ANCC

PESI, Inc. is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Nurses completing these self-study materials will earn 2.0 contact hours. Expires: 08/09/2026.

Nurses - California Nurses

PESI, Inc. is a provider approved by the California Board of  Registered Nursing, Provider #: 17118 for 2.0 self-study contact hours. 

** You will need to provide your license number to PESI. PESI must have this number on file in order for your hours to be valid.

Nurses - Florida Nurses

PESI, Inc. is an approved provider by the Florida Board of  Nursing. Provider #: FBN2858. These materials qualify for 2.0 self-study contact hours.

CE Broker

Nurses - Iowa Nurses

PESI, Inc. is an approved provider by the Iowa Board of Nursing. Provider #: 346. Nurses successfully completing these self-study materials will earn 2.0 self-study contact hours. Please email with your license number, include the title, speaker name and date. PESI must have this number on file in order for your hours to be valid.

Other Professions

This self-study activity qualifies for 2.0 continuing education clock hours as required by many national, state and local licensing boards and professional organizations. Save your activity advertisement and certificate of completion, and contact your own board or organization for specific requirements.



Lois A Fenner-McBride, RN, MS, JD, Attorney at Law's Profile

Lois A Fenner-McBride, RN, MS, JD, Attorney at Law Related seminars and products

Lois A. Fenner McBride, RN, MS, JD, Attorney at Law, is an honor’s graduate of the University of Maryland Graduate School of Nursing, Undergraduate School of Nursing, and University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She is an attorney admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Federal Bar and the Maryland Bar. Nurse-Attorney Fenner is a compact licensed registered nurse and a certified clinical nurse specialist.

She is a founding member of The American Association of Nurse Attorneys, past president of the Monumental Bar Association, a member of the Women’s Bar Association, and the Trial Lawyer’s Association. Nurse-Attorney Fenner has been recognized by the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys with the Distinguished Women in Law award and has been recognized as a Baltimore Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Law, with a selection as a Super Lawyer twice. Her law practice focuses on medical/healthcare litigation and consulting including medical malpractice, personal injury, accreditation, human resources, wrongful death, risk management, credentialing and professional boards/licensure.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Lois Fenner McBride receives compensation as a Nurse Attorney, HR Consultant, and Educator-Lecturer. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Lois Fenner McBride has no relevant non-financial relationships.

Additional Info

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


Visit our FAQ page at or contact us at


  1. Identify the nurse’s responsibilities relating to mental health issues regarding the duty to warn/protect.
  2. Explore the nurse’s obligations relating to mental health issues and duty to report.
  3. Recognize the signs and symptoms of substance use disorder.
  4. Delineate the nurse’s role in safeguarding a suicidal patient.


Violence: Assault, Battery & Homicide
  • Duty to warn/protect
  • Caselaw and statutory requirements
  • Obligations and clients’ expectations re; confidentiality
  • Why warn or disclose?
  • Voluntary and involuntary commitment
  • Case studies
  • Potential liabilities
    • Civil-breach of standard of practice or care
    • Defamation – libel or slander
    • Licensure administrative ramifications
    • Employment: breach of contract, policies, procedures, protocols
    • Loss of credibility
    • Guilt – conflicted feelings
  • Duty to report
  • Types of abuse: Physical, emotional, sexual, neglect, and financial
  • Statutory regulations and mandates/procedure, policies, protocols
  • Case studies
  • Potential liabilities
    • Immunity: Report/failure to report
    • Criminal – loss of freedom, fines, public record (PBJ or PBV or SS)
    • Defamation
    • Licensure administrative ramifications
    • Employment: Breach of contract, procedures, policies, protocols
Substance Use Disorder
  • Why the change “drug abuse”
  • Some Risk Factors
    • Social – desire for acceptance, attempt to feel more at ease in various settings
    • Stress-minimize discomfort
    • Psychological triggers, anxiety disorders, trauma, depression, isolation
    • Peer pressure – everyone else is “doing it”
    • Social media
    • Genetics
    • Family/environmental, enabling, learned behaviors
  • Case Studies
  • Can we prevent the suicide or safeguard the at risk person?
  • Hits close to home (Dr. Lorna Breen Act, March 18, 2022: taking care of me while focusing on the we
  • Some Risk Factors
    • Individual
    • Relationship
    • Community
    • Societal
  • Protective Factors Against Suicide
    • Individual
    • Relationship
    • Community
    • Societal
  • Warning signs
  • Case studies:
  • Potential liabilities
    • Did you miss the signs?
    • Did you document effectively?
    • Did you do enough in a timely manner-guilt?
    • Breach of standard of practice or care
    • Licensure administrative ramifications
    • Employment, policies, procedures, protocols

Target Audience

  • Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioners 


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