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License risk in the OR

Operating Room   (4,444 Views 23 Comments)
by RNOTODAY RNOTODAY, BSN, RN (Member)

RNOTODAY has 18 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU, ER, OR.

21,065 Profile Views; 1,116 Posts

I am interested in hearing answers from fellow OR nurses....

You know how in other areas of nursing how sometimes your license can be at risk for doing or not doing one thing or the other?

Well in your opinion, what kinds of risks do the perioperative nurses take? What would be the biggest thing that comes to your mind? Meaning, what mistakes that could happen on any given day in the OR could possibly cost you your license?

Thanks!!! ;)

( I am an OR nurse, and do know these things, just curious to see what everybody elses assessment is!!!!!)

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358 Posts; 4,964 Profile Views

Quite simply, harming the patient. You can lose your license for just one serious medication error, or other serious harm. Always remember SAFETY FIRST. You are the patient's advocate. When the patient is anesthetized, the patient has absolutely no control over his well being. He is literally trusting YOU with his life. Safety Safety Safety. Do not harm the patient.

By the way, here's a good habit. When anesthesia asks you to get a drug for him, hand it to him and ask, "is this the right one?" Do this even if you are sure it is right. If you give him the wrong drug or concentration, he might trust you and not confirm the drug and then hurt the patient. If this happens, guess who will be blamed. ALWAYS COVER YOUR ASS.

You can also lose your license for stealing drugs and other things, but you have to be a total loser to do stuff like that in the first place.

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310 Posts; 5,378 Profile Views

It is very important to be familiar with your state's boards practice guidelines, i.e. what is in your scope of practice and what is not. It's also important to be familiar with your faciltites policies, especially those involving patient safety. One concern is how to properly escalate concerns about patient safety, i.e., if you express concerns to a doc or your manager and you don't feel the situation is resolved what do you do next?

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Jarnaes has 14 years experience and specializes in US Army.

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Patient safety is the number one responsibility of an OR nurse-and lots of things can happen during surgery. Positioning errors, inadequate padding of pressure areas, pooling of prep solutions, bovie pad burns, instrument and sponge count errors, wrong implants/grafts placed on the field, wrong settings on the various machines used during surgery.

If the patient sustains any injury the surgeon will be sued, but part of his defense will be that the nurse gave them the wrong size, told them the count was correct, used the wrong irrigation solution, didn't know how to set up the harmonic scalpel etc etc. Just being in the OR is a liability.

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kyd007rn specializes in Tele, OR.

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i know of a new grad who mixed heparin wrong, not sure what happen but rumor is pt stroked out.

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GadgetRN71 has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Operating Room.

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Patient safety is the number one responsibility of an OR nurse-and lots of things can happen during surgery. Positioning errors, inadequate padding of pressure areas, pooling of prep solutions, bovie pad burns, instrument and sponge count errors, wrong implants/grafts placed on the field, wrong settings on the various machines used during surgery.

If the patient sustains any injury the surgeon will be sued, but part of his defense will be that the nurse gave them the wrong size, told them the count was correct, used the wrong irrigation solution, didn't know how to set up the harmonic scalpel etc etc. Just being in the OR is a liability.

In our OR, our charting system has a space to indicate the count was incorrect and what was done about it. There is also a blank space to write any additional info(such as, the result of the xray as stated by the doctor)and I document up to my eyeballs. But you're right-although I think any nurse is at risk. As soon as I passed by boards, I got malpractice insurance.

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RNOTODAY has 18 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU, ER, OR.

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Jarnaes, you mention "not knowing how to set up the harmonic scalpel"... what do you mean buy that... how would that put us at risk for malpractice (I know its a good way to get the team pissed at you, though...lol)

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Jarnaes has 14 years experience and specializes in US Army.

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Exactly. I just used the harmonic as an example- you know how it it is... lots of towers and gadgets and lots of different settings, attachments and potential problems.

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358 Posts; 4,964 Profile Views

As soon as I passed by boards, I got malpractice insurance.

That's a good point. ALWAYS get your own liability insurance. It's only $100 per year. Otherwise you are relying on the hospital to cover you. What if the HOSPITAL wants to blame you? Then, you're screwed.

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zuzi specializes in trauma, ortho, burns, plastic surgery.

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honey covers your ass! document everything that you did! if you don know ask! if you are unsure ask again! talk with surgeon, talk with anesthesia doctor don't do nothing until you think about what you will do!

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krazy_coconuts specializes in ICU.

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I have a random question. I learned in a nursing ethics class that having liability insurance makes you a target for a lawsuit...what do you guys think?

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358 Posts; 4,964 Profile Views

I have a random question. I learned in a nursing ethics class that having liability insurance makes you a target for a lawsuit...what do you guys think?

All lawyers will assume you already have insurance because you are usually covered by your hospital. The purpose of getting your own insurance is in case your hospital decides to blame you.

What's worse to you? Being insured and sued, or not being insured and wondering if you about to be sued?

If you have no insurance and the hospital won't cover you, you will lose your house and life savings.

Lawyers don't give a damn about you. Their mission is to drain as much money as possible from you. They make a living off the misery of others.

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