Legal Food For Thought During the First Year of Nursing (and Beyond) - page 2

by TheCommuter 11,930 Views | 26 Comments Senior Moderator

The first year of nursing is, in countless cases, also one of the most challenging years of a nurse's career because many different events are taking place. First of all, a significant number of newer nurses are acquiring the... Read More


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    That is a great post, thank you very much Commuter for putting it up. Having personal experience with malpractice lawsuits (not as a nurse, but as the SNF's social worker), being blamed for negligence in such a procedure is very devastating and personally stressful. It is an important reminder that there are so many things we worry about that we are sometimes scared to relax and enjoy the job. Families and patients can be very pushy and intimidating. But by arming oneself with information, that stress can disappear to background noise.
    anotherone likes this.
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    Thanks for this. I'm a CNA and in our CNA classes they told us that anyone could call the state at any time for any reason to report a wrong-doing on our part, and even if we were innocent, that would go on our permanent record and we would never be able to find work as a CNA or nurse again. If this is indeed true, then the rules should be changed. Many people with dementia in long-term care think something has been stolen when it's actually just been misplaced or never existed in the first place. If a family member doesn't realize this, a theft could be reported against a CNA with no basis whatsoever.
    serenitylove14 and anotherone like this.
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    I went to a conference recently. One of our speakers was a physician who went to law school. (S)He practices law primarily but also practices medicine some (it sounds like they work per diem). It was interesting the discussion we had about medical malpractice, lawsuits and other legal issues - and a better way for me to gain more understanding about the laws in my current state. VERY informative!

    The biggest take aways - things nurses get sued for, what the laws in our state say, and why practicing according to facility policy and within the state nurse practice act is paramount. Obviously, for good reason, one should not be practicing outside their scope of practice and training/competencies. One of the other things that was discussed was that claims are much more likely to be made verses the hospital/corporation or physician - because the potential rewards are higher. That being said, nurses can and do get singled out (depends on the situation, and on what happened, the severity or scope if you will). Statistically speaking though...it is somewhat (okay, I lied, very) comforting food for thought. My facility is self-insured (as are our physician practices), which, mostly, helps us as staff. But. To protect itself, our company is very adamant that our policies and procedures exist for reasons and failure to comply will cause the facility to drop you from the group representation.

    Also, one of the things to consider about - many malpractice insurance programs for nurses include state board representation. It was explained that most carriers allow nurses to choose and retain private counsel, and once the matter is settled the representation bills the insurance company. (Again, you have to check with your carried/policy specifics).
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    Do you have any suggestions as to where one could take a course in nursing and the law? It appears the laws would be according to one's state, unless there's a general course you recommend such as "business law" that is provided in a business degree curriculum.
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    So awesome to read this! I just brought nursing insurance today from NSO. I just started as a school nurse and I feel the need to protect myself due to a situation at the district. Not that I don't think the school district will fight for me and leave me high and dry, but I need that sure self-protection. I like to be prepared and this is the best thing I can do for myself and hopefully I will never need it I know there's a School Nursing and the Law text out there and I'm going to order it on payday!
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    Most people threaten to sue for circumstances that are beyond the healthcare professional's control. Example: "I'm going to sue because my vascular bypass didn't work, even though when I went home after surgery I continue to smoke 2ppd and ate McDonald's every day."
    anotherone likes this.
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    Quote from bookbunny
    Do you have any suggestions as to where one could take a course in nursing and the law? It appears the laws would be according to one's state, unless there's a general course you recommend such as "business law" that is provided in a business degree curriculum.
    Do a Google.com search of the term "Legal Issues in Nursing" and a whole slew of results will show up. Some of the results give information about courses offered at community colleges and state universities, while many of the other results lead to online courses regarding nursing and the law. Many opportunities exist to take CEU courses on legal issues in nursing, too. So there are a variety of ways a nurse can learn about the legalities surrounding their livelihoods.
    LibraSunCNM and NTICU-Lady like this.
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    Just wondering if this will cover it...
    I attend the University of South Florida. Part of our curriculum includes "Ethical/Legal Aspects of Nursing". The course descrpition is "Introduction to contemporary bioethical and legal issues confronting health care providers in a variety of settings. Focuses on identification of legal and ethical principles underlying the decision- making process in nursing and health care."

    Is this the type of class that would be a good idea or should I look for an additional class?
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    Quote from PalmHarborMom
    Is this the type of class that would be a good idea or should I look for an additional class?
    Purely based on the description provided, this type of class seems like a great idea to learn more about legal issues that impact nursing practice.
  10. 0
    Quote from TheCommuter
    Purely based on the description provided, this type of class seems like a great idea to learn more about legal issues that impact nursing practice.

    Thanks for the reply! The description that I gave is directly from the course catalog. I see tremendous value in learning about the legal aspects of nursing and feel fortunate that my university has included it in our curriculum.

    Thanks again!


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