I posted the following comment to mtnNurse on two other threads. To further the discussion I thought it appropriate to post it again:
"You keep making the point that nurses brains are subject to failure because we are humans. By your logic all workers in all types of occupations should never be charged with any crime due to their negligence unless they deliberately intended to cause harm to the public.
Following your logic airline pilots brains are subject to failure at any moment during an 11 hour flight, and the plane could crash if the pilot gets overwhelmed or distracted. Think of all the many, many flights that take place all over the world, just in the course of one day, yet planes aren't crashing all over the place every day. Should we conclude that airline pilots brains function better than nurses brains? Or do airline pilots practice to higher professional standards? Nursing isn't the only profession with a lot of stressors, distractions, and responsibility/accountability.
I just had a licensed electrician work perform some work for me. Should I assume that he/she may be under extraordinary stressors and be unable to perform safely? I never thought that he/she might actually have been incompetent is his/her practice or might make a mistake that would lead to him/her ignoring basic electrical safety procedures. That perhaps he/she might be negligent to the point that I will get electrocuted. Oh, well, I guess I will just put it down to brain failure on his/her part. In which case, what is the point of professional licensure? If a licensed electrician can't perform their job safely why should I bother using his/her services?
Why bother to have any professional standards for any professions at all? Why bother with licensure? If the public can't trust that a licensed professional will be able to perform to industry standards of safety, why should they bother using the services of a licensed professional? Then we don't have professions, because everyone does the job equally incompetently/unsafely.
If you believe that nursing is a unique profession with extraordinary stressors such that nurses are unable to concentrate on their licensed activities to the point that they are unable to perform safely and must excuse themselves due to brain failure when they inadvertently harm or kill patients due to not being able to perform safely, why should anyone have any confidence in nurses ability to perform safe care? Why should the public go to hospitals?
You are saying something quite terrible, that perhaps you don't realize you are saying, and that is that the public shouldn't expect to rely on licensed professionals to meet industry safety standards. You are saying that licensed professionals shouldn't be held criminally liable for failing to meet industry safety standards; that as long as they did not deliberately intend harm they should not face criminal charges and that their lapse of judgement/unsafe performance however caused should not result in criminal charges.
I ask you a question in return, why should the public have confidence in licensed professionals? Why should I receive nursing care from you? Do you see where this goes? If the general public loses confidence that they will receive safe nursing care, do you think you can take for granted that they will continue to come to the facility you work at for their care? Do you think you might lose your job?
Licensed professions rely on the confidence of the general public. The reason licensed professionals get paid is that the general public trust in the standards of the professions and place their trust in the licensed professionals. If you can't provide safe nursing care why should I come to the facility you work at for my care? If a licensed airline pilot can't fly a plane safely, meeting industry safety standards, why should I fly with that airline? If the problem is endemic to the airline industry, why should I fly at all?"