The standards of care or practice in nursing are general guidelines. These guidelines provide a basis as to:
- how a nurse should act and
- what they should or should not do in their professional capacity
When a nurse moves away from the standard this can result in certain legal issues. This article will discuss the associated legal implications when nursing standards fail to be met.
Nursing standards of care are important for a number of reasons, some of these reasons include:
- Outlining professional expectations of nurses
- Guiding nurses on proper protocol
- Giving an objective standard of evaluation of nurses
- Providing consistency throughout the profession in order for patients to receive quality care
- Providing nurses with the necessary information to know the quality of care required of them
- Establishing measures in which to evaluate the care provided
Generally, nurses are expected to be in compliance with these standards. Additionally, to ensure that their own underlings (interns or student nurses) are in compliance. Thus, a nurse’s compliance with the standards of care protect the public.
Nursing Standards and Negligence
When nurses negligently fail to follow these standards and cause injury their actions rise to malpractice. Therefore, most litigation against nurses is he or she is accused of violating a standard of care in a negligence lawsuit. However, in the medical profession this is referred to as malpractice.
Nurses may be held liable in malpractice cases if they inappropriately fail to:
- administer medication,
- monitor equipment,
- warn patients about known harms or
- protect patients from known dangers
Nurses are required to completely and accurately report patient assessment and observations that they make in a timely manner. However, their failure to monitor or be alerted to changes in the patient’s condition may be found as negligence. Such negligence rises to malpractice on the nurse’s part.
For legal advice with regards to nursing malpractice contact Vinson Law Office lawyers, today.