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Am I responsible for mistakes made by a co-worker nurse with restricted license?

Nurse Attorney   (686 Views 4 Comments)
by Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD (Advice Column) Writer Expert Verified

Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD has 30 years experience .

11 Followers; 8 Articles; 5,713 Profile Views; 101 Posts

Hi Lorie

I work in a small hospital in central Texas and they have recently hired an RN that is on stipulations. We are at a rural facility and the ER is staffed with 2 RN's and one doctor. She is on stipulations for administering a paralytic to a patient while working in the ICU without a doctor’s order. She forfeited her license but it has now been reinstated with restrictions. She is required to only work with another RN as a supervising RN. My question is, What is my responsibility when working with her? Am I responsible for any mistakes that are made?

Thank you for any clarification.


Dear Am I Responsible,

Thanks for reaching out to me.  The purpose of stipulations on a license or probation on a license is to make sure the nurse is safe.  It is considered an encumbered license. Many times they want another nurse there to be a resource if she has any questions.  The Board does not define the role of a supervising RN. Does your facility have a policy that would cover this? If not, have you asked your manager about expectations?  The facility is responsible for any malpractice even if you are supervising her. With that said, that does not mean you will not be named in a lawsuit but in my experience, nurses are usually not named individually. Sometimes facilities think a nurse with stipulations is a liability.  I choose to think of them as wanting to do really well because they are under a microscope and they want to get off probation and have the stipulations removed.

I wish you the best,

Lorie

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There is no way I would do this unless it was perfectly clear that her "supervising RN" was a member of management and not a peer staff member.

Edited by JKL33

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On 7/25/2019 at 5:27 PM, Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD said:

The purpose of stipulations on a license or probation on a license is to make sure the nurse is safe.  It is considered an encumbered license. Many times they want another nurse there to be a resource if she has any questions.

Re-reading and re-thinking this, their order likely means that 1) she is not to work where the person who is her supervisor is not an RN, and 2) she is not to work in an RN position where she is not supervised the way we all are in acute care, by our managers, house supervisors, etc.

So, in reality we all may be working with such RNs and not even know it. And I wouldn't even pretend to involve myself in whatever arrangements these individuals have with their employer. Management assumes responsibility for supervising such nurses, and the less I know about any of it, the better.

BUT. If the employer (manager, supervisor, etc.) has come to the first RN (who submitted this question) and informed them that they will be supervising this other nurse, that is absolute hard NO.

Edited by JKL33

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