I'm really considering it esp since I'm thinking about working for an agency.
What are your thoughts? Check out this article.
Malpractice suits against nurses on the rise.
Nov, 2007 * Nursing Practice--News You Can Use
This article by Catherine Domrose is worth the reading as it discusses issues concerning malpractice suits against nurses and suggestions for alleviating the possibility of being sued. Because of the nursing shortage, nurses taking on more responsibilities and the acuity of the patients becoming greater, nurses must become more aware of the possibilities of human error. One of the issues addressed in this article include why nurses get sued. As stated by nurse legal experts who were interviewed for this story--"Some of the biggest lawsuits against nurses include medication errors, communication errors, failure to monitor and assess, failure to properly advocate for the patient, working while impaired, (whether by inadequate sleep or controlled substances) and negligent or inappropriate delegation and supervision." One of the suggestions for reducing the risk includes documentation. So many times we, as nurses, take documentation for granted and rush through the process; however, this may be our best defense if there is ever a lawsuit filed. All the way through nursing school we were reminded that "If it is not documented, we did not do it." With this in mind, although tedious, nurses should make charting and plan of care two of the most important parts of caring for the patient. In the article, it also lists ways to minimize the risk for getting sued: Thorough documentation, follow the chain of command, make the patient your partner, recognize system flaws and report them, and consider carrying individual malpractice insurance
The article also point out that nurses have to assume control of their practice by following the standards of practice as pointed out by the state and agency for which they are employed, calling the physician repeatedly (even if they might get angry), telling the supervisor they cannot work that extra shift and not letting anyone interrupt them while giving medications.
Something to think about, ten years ago, 20% of malpractice suits were law suits against nurses. Today, that number has grown to over 35%. Nurses know more, do more, and have less time to do it (Pritzker | Ruohonen & Associates, P.A., 2006).
Nursing Malpractice. 2006. Retrieved on 9/9/07