Protect yourself, Protect your license, and most of all Protect your patient - page 3

by madwife2002 Asst. Admin

11,278 Views | 26 Comments

Did you know that the only way to protect yourself in a court of law is to follow your company’s policies and procedures, to the letter! If it is in the Policy and Procedure (P & P) manual, then it is written in stone for your... Read More


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    Cienurse's comment reminded me that making the P & P's hard to find/read/understand is another way that facilities trick nurses into doing what they are told. You better believe that when you end up on the stand they will have that page placed right in front of you. Saying " I've never seen that" will get you sarcastic stares even if it's the truth.
    madwife2002, anotherone, and elprup like this.
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    Then you are practicing medicine without a license and putting yourself at risk for a malpractice suit and loss of your license because if any of those patients experience adverse effects from the care you provided without a physician's order or protocol, neither the physician nor your hospital will stand behind you.
    Have you and your fellow ER nurses approached your hospital and physicians about developing basic protocols of care for frequent symptoms and complaints that present at your ER. This would not only be some protection for your, but would also protect the hospital and the physician's would have some input into what basic emergency care should be initiated until the physician can be in attendance.
    I am not unrealistic enough to think that there will not be unusual situations that must be dealt with, but it should not be common practice. I also am well aware of what happens in the ER. I am an RN of greater than 35 years and I, too, have worked in the emergency department.

    I wish you well and thank you and all of us nurses for the hard work we do.
    elkpark and madwife2002 like this.
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    Thank you for mentioning that. Hospitals and nursing homes (I've worked at both) are constantly putting you in unsafe situation where your license and the patient is at risk. They give you no help and you better not complain or you're scrutinized and labeled. Those policies only protect themselves they could care less about the nurse. You'll be out the door just as another one will be coming in. It's a vicious cycle we need to get in contact with unions and our state legislatures about this. Needlessly to say things aren't going to change especially with the medicare/medicaid cuts and all the facilities trying to cut cost by adding on more responsibility to one nurse. It's totally nerve wrecking but what can we do.
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    I agree with the OP. You should know what the P/P are in your facility. Just to give you an example on what could happen: (and it did happen to me) I had a client that insisted on getting out of bed and was going to do it on her own if myself and a CNA didn't help her. She was not my patient and I was not familiar with her chart. After asking the necessary questions about what are you in the hospital for, are you able to support yourself standing, how long can you stand, etc... well needless to say, she was getting up whether we helped or not. Once her feet hit the floor, her legs started going out on her. My partner and I gently slid her to the floor and took the sheet off the bed and placed a sturdy life under her, went and obtained more staff to assist with lifting her back into bed, things went really smooth and everything was documented and step by step was noted as we placed her back on her bed. That same evening she was telling her husband that we were forcing her to move to the chair and she insisted that the nursing staff had let her fall on the floor and that we did not asist her properly Needless to say, she sued. I was named in the suit as well as the CNA helping me. Knowing my policy and procedures helped me to avert a disaster! If in wasnt for the fact that I had read them and knew how to deal with this incident, not to mention being sued for damage and a fracture of her ribs. Both the P/P really helped me to maintain my practice, to be able to prove that there were no injuries with this patient. (Lady claimed that she was dropped and she suffered a fracture in you back.)
    The moral of this_ don't think that you can't be sued individual by client that you are caring for. It can and does happen! In this case, the women claimed that she was hurt while this transport was being handled. She did indeed have a fracture but because of xray's that had been done just the day before while in ER and the current new ixray that was ordered, found that she had that fracture prior to being moved to our floor. My Point is this: You need to know at least the basics of what your facility requires for you to do! Policiy and Procedure can either break you are make you! Oh and by the way, this client dropped the suit. Knowing your facility's P&P are there to protect you. If you don't know them and something like this ocurrs, you will need it to prove that you did no harm.
    Take time to read them! Most of them are reviewed, rewritten, or removed, every year. I worked as a floor nurse at that time. Protect your self and you patient. KNOW YOUR P&P OF YOUR FACILITY. WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT, YOu MIGHT NEED TO HANDLE THINGS SUCH AS THIS!
    bnmekiki and madwife2002 like this.
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    My nursing liability insurance policy excludes injury that a reasonable person would expect. I am not a lawyer but I understand that as a nurse my practice is held to the "reasonable nurse" standard.

    I have come to the conclusion that unless I find an employer I can really trust to protect the practice of the nurses under their employment, the personal, professional, and financial risks of practicing direct patient care for me outweigh the benefits. I do not currently work as a nurse in direct patient care.
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    Liability insurance and defense only protect the person if the event occured during covered periods. Like some people have stated they were being investigated at work for something but not sent to board of nurses, they assume that if it was not reported yet then they would be able to obtain it and be covered for the defense before the board. Not usually the way, so the point I am making is get it now, it's cheap and tax deductible.
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    Great Article and I very much agree. Can't go wrong with the nurse practice act ( even though it's harder to read than ever now) and the P/P.
    madwife2002 likes this.


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