My question is, how much responsibility is a nurse obligated to, and or how much liberty does one have to treat a person in the community when off duty and not jeopardize their license. For example, if someone were to have a heart attack in the shopping mall, would it be wrong to give the person aspirin or nitro? I'm concerned because I don't want to go out if my scope of practice when not on duty, but also it may be against the law not to assist someone in distress if you are medically trained.
I appreciate any advice in advance!
Dec 28, '13
You can almost NEVER go wrong by doing what anyone trained in First Aid would do.
Dec 28, '13
Research good samaritan laws or laws related to healthcare professionals in your state/county/city as these can vary greatly. Generally, information known to the public (chewing aspirin for suspected MI) shouldn't get you in trouble, and usually you aren't going to have the supplies to go outside your scope anyway (I certainly don't carry around a bag full of supplies but might have some ASA on hand-that's pretty much it). Always remember however, that you never want to become a second victim, so make sure that you will not jeopardize yourself in any way.
Dec 29, '13
First aid is the way to go. Know your limitations, and be careful. I was an EMT for years and whenever we hear "nurse is on scene" we tend to speed up. Not because nurses don't know what they are doing but the longer you leave them alone the crazier things some of them do. Borrowing nitroglycerin from a bystander, crawling around inside wrecked vehicles, ect. Just remember do no harm. Also realize you have zero responsibility to render aid. Just because you have a RN doesn't mean you have to give aid. If you choose to you may.
Dec 30, '13
On further consideration we drive even faster for doctors. You haven't had fun until you watch a podiatrist clearing c spine on the side of the road.
Dec 31, '13
You would be wise to know the Good Samaritan Laws (if any) that are in place where you live. These laws would protect you from legal action if you offer emergent assistance within the scope of your practice.
If you need further clarification about Good Samaritan Laws and what you can/can't do in your location, I would suggest that you talk with an attorney as we can't give legal advice. You can find a lawyer in your area familiar with nursing issues here: TAANA Executive Office - Home
Jan 2, '14
Hasn't failed me yet.
Jan 6, '14
If you are not an APRN & have not been trained as a first responder, 'interventions' need to be limited to those that could be done by anyone with first aid skills. Scopes of practice are VERY important boundaries... same reason that EMTs are considered "unlicensed" if they were in a hospital setting.
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