Quote from knotizer12
I guess I can agree somewhat regarding MAs and consents but isn't that why you have the witness in the room when the patient and the physician sign? To actually witness that everything is explained?
You are only confirming that the patient signed the consent. Do I ask if they have any questions and if the procedure was explained? Yes. Have they signed it while not in my presence? Yes. Which is when I ask "Is this your signature allowing us to ..." It is not uncommon for the explanation with the surgeon to occur in an inpatient unit but for the consent not to be witnessed until the patient is in the preop area. Even if it is witnessed, I still have the patient verify that it is their signature on the consent.
From OR Manager:
"Q: Do nurses witness the signature only or give their signature to
verify patients' understanding? (Nurses never seem to get this
Balfour: At a minimum, nurses or other care providers witnessing the signature
should be confident the patient himself or herself is signing the consent,
and the patient is competent to sign. The nurse should make sure the patient
is not impaired by medications in agreeing to the procedure. Competency can
also relate to age; for example, the nurse should ensure minor patients' consents
are signed by the responsible parent(s) or guardian.
While the responsibility for informing the patient and obtaining consent
rests with the physician, witnessing the patient's signature on the consent is
the optimum time to ensure the patient has had all questions answered about
the procedure. While the nurse may not be, the doctor is required to verify the
patient's understanding and consent. (Sometimes doctors don't get this right.)
The nurse asking, "Has the doctor answered all of your questions about the
procedure?" is a good step. If not, the consent process is not complete, and the
doctor should be sought out before the surgery to get the questions answered.
Nurses should be careful, though, not to offer advice about the risk/benefit calculations;
such calculations and advice should be left to the doctors.
The contemporaneous signature of a witness serves 2 purposes. First, it
impresses upon the patient the importance of the document the patient is signing.
Second, it documents a part of the informed consent process, namely the
patient's agreement to undergo the procedure. The facility benefits from the
nurse assuring the patient's comprehension. The nurse is not required to verify
the patient's comprehension of and consent to the procedure to protect his
or her own liability, but the nurse's doing so helps to protect the facility from
liability, both by assuring that the patient has consented and continuing good
open communication with the patient."