Would you work outside of your scope of practice to save a life?

  1. We had a group discussion in my class today about a hypothetical scenario and I'm curious to see what some of you on here would do.

    You have a patient who needs a procedure done that is outside of your scope of practice. They will for certain die if it is not done and nobody who is able to do it is available within the necessary time frame. You know, in theory, how to do the procedure, but you've never done it yourself. Your patients only chance of survival is if you do the procedure. Do you do it?
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   klone
    Yes, probably
  4. by   Cat365
    I'd rather regret what I did than what I didn't do. However, all things depend on the exact circumstance, situation, and context.
  5. by   blondy2061h
    I've kind of done this before. I had a patient having a severe med reaction once. Wheezing. Hives. Very panicked. We didn't have rapid response at my hospital yet and the doctor wasn't answering his pages. I gave IV benadryl without an order.
  6. by   Purple_roses
    Quote from blondy2061h
    I've kind of done this before. I had a patient having a severe med reaction once. Wheezing. Hives. Very panicked. We didn't have rapid response at my hospital yet and the doctor wasn't answering his pages. I gave IV benadryl without an order.
    Something like this, I would do. But anything bigger than giving a med (like an emergency trach)...nope. Too many people are sue-happy.
  7. by   klone
    I've delivered babies instead of pushing their heads back in and telling the mother to cross her legs. So there's that.
  8. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from metallaces
    We had a group discussion in my class today about a hypothetical scenario and I'm curious to see what some of you on here would do.

    You have a patient who needs a procedure done that is outside of your scope of practice. They will for certain die if it is not done and nobody who is able to do it is available within the necessary time frame. You know, in theory, how to do the procedure, but you've never done it yourself. Your patients only chance of survival is if you do the procedure. Do you do it?
    I've given D50 more times than I can count with no order ...but by "procedure" I am thinking something more along the lines of intubation. I would act if I knew damn sure what I was doing and there was absolutely no hope of anyone more qualified coming along.
  9. by   sallyrnrrt
    Yes, but fortunately I'm both RN 45 years and RRT since 2005......
  10. by   NurseCard
    I believe I would give a medication that I knew plenty about,
    such as IV Benadryl, then let the doc know later, what happened.
    I honestly do not think I would attempt a procedure that I
    knew very little to nothing about.
  11. by   Atl-Murse
    You mean like craniotomy on a Pt with brain aneurysm or a open chest on a aortic dissection. I watched that episode on Gray's Anatomy and I am fully qualified to do it. Would like to be my patient ?
  12. by   traumaRUs
    Moved t nursing student assistance forum.....practicing outside a scope of practice and putting it out on the internet is a great way to get into more trouble...
  13. by   Castiela
    Nope. In anaphylaxis, I would call a code. In any potentially life threatening situation, I would call a code or ambulance and the supervisor. I might have the supervisor give meds the patient needs but I have a hard time thinking of a circumstance where a doc would not be present/ emergency services are not available to get direction first.
  14. by   OrganizedChaos
    There's a difference between giving a med you know a doctor will give you orders for later (when in the midst of a code & can't get ahold of the doctor) versus needing to insert a chest tube or PEG. I would *never* do that!

    Sorry, I worked too hard for my license.

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