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Liability education

  1. 0 Why do colleges and hospitals not thoroughly educate nurses about the law and what we should know as practicing nurses?
    Last edit by kathys on Feb 13, '04 : Reason: no responses
  2. Visit  DelGR profile page
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    Quote from kathys
    Why do colleges and hospitals not thoroughly educate nurses about the law and what we should know as practicing nurses?
    Generally, You do get that information. It isn't spelled out that succtinctly in your courses but it is there. I remember certain signs and symptoms that we were cautioned to notify the doctor about. The implication is there that if you don't then you will be liable if something happens adversely to the patient. I know that in WI we get a newsletter from the state including the names of nurses who have been disciplined by the dept. of license/regulations for registered nurses. In one particular quarter, there were several nurses being disciplined because they did not notify the provider when there was missing peripheral pulses in a patient. It must have caused the patient to have either a delay in treatment or loss of limb.
    The facility you hire on to will have you read all the policies regarding the work place and nursing. Your state board of nursing will also give you information regarding the nurse practice act in your state. You can always go to the state board of nursings web page and download (at least in IL I was able to) the guidelines that you practice under. I hope that helps. Of course, you also can keep informed by reading online courses about the law and nursing or subscribe to either an online journal or mailed out journal of nursing. AJN usually has a section on legal matters pertaining to nursing/charting and the like.
  3. Visit  Havin' A Party! profile page
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    Quote from kathys
    Why do colleges and hospitals not thoroughly educate nurses about the law and what we should know as practicing nurses?
    Agree with your thought here.

    Much more could and should be included in school.
  4. Visit  RNin92 profile page
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    Quote from kathys
    Why do colleges and hospitals not thoroughly educate nurses about the law and what we should know as practicing nurses?
    I agree with your thoughts, too.

    I know in the ED...there are so many changing laws that there is "grey" area everywhere.

    We are mandated reporters of elder and child abuse.
    What about domestic violence. We have a policy to notify law enforcement if we have knowledge of a crime. What if the patient doesn't want to press charges? What if the patient doesn't want to let ANYONE know they are in the ER or release their medical information? With the new HIPAA laws...life has become very complex!

    And what about minors?
    What IS the age of consent..exactly?
    They cannot "legally" consent for sex until they are 18 (statutory rape laws)...but they can consent for their own treatment for asexually related problems without parental consent at age 12? So has a law been broken or not? Do I have a role in that or not?

    How about giving BAL levels to law enforcement?
    Are we violating a patient's HIPAA rights?
    If they haven't been ticketed for DUI and they come back with high BALs...do we report that?

    It is very mucky out there trying to do the right thing by your patient AND society.
  5. Visit  txspadequeenRN profile page
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    I could not agree more. I am finishing up my BSN and BS in Goverment and then it's off to law school. I would love to hold seminars and give nurses the legal do's and dont's. I have been to these seminars and they are very informing.It covers alot that nursing school dont.



    Quote from kathys
    Why do colleges and hospitals not thoroughly educate nurses about the law and what we should know as practicing nurses?
  6. Visit  Gldngrl profile page
    0
    Quote from RNin92
    I agree with your thoughts, too.

    I know in the ED...there are so many changing laws that there is "grey" area everywhere.

    We are mandated reporters of elder and child abuse.
    What about domestic violence. We have a policy to notify law enforcement if we have knowledge of a crime. What if the patient doesn't want to press charges? What if the patient doesn't want to let ANYONE know they are in the ER or release their medical information? With the new HIPAA laws...life has become very complex!

    And what about minors?
    What IS the age of consent..exactly?
    They cannot "legally" consent for sex until they are 18 (statutory rape laws)...but they can consent for their own treatment for asexually related problems without parental consent at age 12? So has a law been broken or not? Do I have a role in that or not?

    How about giving BAL levels to law enforcement?
    Are we violating a patient's HIPAA rights?
    If they haven't been ticketed for DUI and they come back with high BALs...do we report that?

    It is very mucky out there trying to do the right thing by your patient AND society.
    You're asking some really great, relevant questions. You should have hospital policies pertaining to the domestic violence issues and if there aren't, that's something to be brought up with risk management/ hospital legal counsel. Consent issues would be based upon your state statutes and then relying upon your hospital policies. I'm not sure how closely you work with the district attorney's office (or commonwealth's attorney, depending upon where you live), but they can be a terrific resource as well with some of these issues.
  7. Visit  Gldngrl profile page
    0
    Quote from kathys
    Why do colleges and hospitals not thoroughly educate nurses about the law and what we should know as practicing nurses?
    I think they do, but albeit very simplified and without much emphasis. I think part of the reason is b/c they have so many hours to complete their core curriculum and there's not enough time for a "nursing malpractice 101". I also think if they taught more law in nursing school, there would be a lot more "perturbed" administrators, shall we say. Law is more than just maintaining one's duty of care to the patient and reporting issues to the physicians...it also involves other levels of advocacy dealing with political issues involving ie:unsafe staffing, employee issues, and the ability to not only know that something is wrong, but to argue persuasively why and how it is wrong and that one will do such and such to rectify it. With knowledge, there's a certain amount of power... Nursing schools need hospitals for their clinicals and they don't want to allienate them w/ former students turned activists.
    Last edit by Gldngrl on May 20, '04
  8. Visit  Havin' A Party! profile page
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    Quote from Gldngrl
    I think they do, but albeit very simplified and without much emphasis. I think part of the reason is b/c they have so many hours to complete their core curriculum and there's not enough time... also think if they taught more law... there would be a lot more "perturbed" administrators... Nursing schools need hospitals for their clinicals and they don't want to allienate them w/ former students turned activists.
    Lotta truth there.
  9. Visit  purplemania profile page
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    I can just hear the nursing students complaining about paying for a law course. They already complain about "illrelevant" courses, such as chemistry and math. Law is changing constantly so it would be very hard to keep up and if the instructor is not entirely accurate, would they be liable for my mistake in practice? The Nurse Practice Act covers a lot of this, but YOU ARE RIGHT, we should have continuing education pertaining to our area of practice. After all, Home Health nurses have a different patient population than we do in acute care.
  10. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
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    I believe the OP has a point. However, nursing school teaches the basics of care - not the fine details. I have taken courses over the years re: legal nursing and nursing. Also - if you have your own malpractice insurance - usually they have a magazine that goes into a lot of legal issues for nurses.
  11. Visit  Havin' A Party! profile page
    0
    Quote from purplemania
    ... Law is changing constantly so it would be very hard to keep up and if the instructor is not entirely accurate, would they be liable for my mistake in practice?...
    Not a real reason to not have this coursework. Lots of practice areas are in flux all the time... as they should be.

    And no, there wouldn't be any liability on the part of the prof for teaching. He's not providing legal advice through the class... only reviewing general concepts and particular sets of facts present in the cases discussed. The law is very situation specific.
  12. Visit  RNin92 profile page
    0
    Quote from LarryG
    Not a real reason to not have this coursework. Lots of practice areas are in flux all the time... as they should be.

    And no, there wouldn't be any liability on the part of the prof for teaching. He's not providing legal advice through the class... only reviewing general concepts and particular sets of facts present in the cases discussed. The law is very situation specific.
    The law is freaking gray!!!

    There is just so much left to objectivity that I feel like sometimes we are walking a legal tight rope.
    Is what is best for the patient what is best for society?
    Why is it my decision to make?

    It is really tough sometimes.
  13. Visit  Havin' A Party! profile page
    0
    Quote from RNin92
    The law is freaking gray!!!

    There is just so much left to objectivity that I feel like sometimes we are walking a legal tight rope.
    Is what is best for the patient what is best for society?
    Why is it my decision to make?

    It is really tough sometimes.
    Again, in some situations it is gray. In others, more clear-cut. It's critical to have a good notion of which is which.

    And yup, sometimes it's tough to make the correct call. So important for us to stay on top of the standards that govern what we do. But, when faced with a decision we're not sure of, we've usually got our superiors / peers to consult with. Also a good idea to have a general plan in case of an emergency.

    On the patient versus society thing: Think that one's an easy call. Our job is to be concerned only with the patient we've been entrusted to care for. Higher level, societal issues are for politicians and others (including us, if we wish to participate after work).

    You're also correct that it's a bear sometimes coming up with the best way to go.

    Let's keep in mind though that this isn't the only profession where difficult decisions are made on a daily basis.

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