What is the legal definition of Verbal Abuse?


Hi Lorie:

What do most BONs consider to be the legal definition of Verbal Abuse by a nurse towards a patient and what would they consider a preponderance of evidence of verbal abuse?


Dear Verbal Abuse

There are both federal and state definitions for verbal abuse. Look at the federal statutes as well as your state statutes for the applicable definitions. I have successfully argued that in cases of abuse, it does not meet the federal definition but remember, the Boards of Nursing do not need to use a definition but, instead, can use their own judgment. If they feel it is verbal abuse, they can take action.

A preponderance of evidence basically comes to a more likely than not level or, if you will, 51%. If you look at the scale of Justice and put a feather in one tray and that side drops slightly, that is a preponderance of evidence.