Areas of Potential Liability for the Advanced Practice Nurse

Springhouse Corporation (197) defines advanced practical nursing as caring for patients using advanced diagnostic skills, ordering diagnosis tests, prescribing medications and using medical, therapeutic and corrective measures to treat illness and improve health status. An advanced nurse has many areas of liability that are likely to attract regulatory laws. Common sense and informed judgments can however be useful tools in dealing with these areas.

When an advanced nurse’s conduct result in patient’s death or injury the nurse can be held liable and be sued for malpractice. To be on the save side therefore, the nurse must familiarize himself or herself with the many state laws that affect nursing practice and education.

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There are many areas of potential liability for the advanced nurse practice. Most of these areas are sensitive emergency cases which call for high professionalism, conduct and intelligence. According to (Springhouse Corporation 198) Coronary care and intensive care unit, Psychiatrics, Medical surgical care units, Pediatrics, Recovery rooms, Obstetrics units and areas of independents medical care are areas of frequent litigation.

Nurses therefore, must be familiar with ways of reducing liability in their areas where both life of the patient and the welfare of the nurse are protected. There are therefore some management measures that can be used to reduce this liability for the manager, facility and the patient (Kellner 317-35).

The first management is to ensure that nurses maintain competence in their areas of specialty. As a nurse, attending some educational seminars which could add to their knowledge is inevitable. This undertaking can instill competence and professionalism.

The second measure is to know legal principals and try to apply them into every day practice. Nurses should also have their institution policies and procedures in their finger tips to avoid collision and conflict of interests (Rhodes 54), which could result to legal implication.

Moreover an advanced nurse must always respect and admit that he or she can not be a jack of all trades in medicine. To avoid liabilities, which can attract litigation, it is wise to handle only the nursing skills, within his or her scope of practice and, that one is proficient to perform. This is because there is a likelihood of a deadlock when one delves into an area he has little know how.

Maintaining openness, honesty to patients and their families can also manage potential liabilities. This has proved to win respect and enhances free communication. When patients are fully satisfied with the services offered, chances of them suing are reduced. Avoiding criticizing healthcare providers in patient’s presence is highly encouraged. Criticizing your subordinate openly takes away patient’s confidence of the nurse thus creating distrust (Mayberry 54).

Finally it is always ethically professional to decline those clinical assignments that one does not feel competent to perform. Even when the assignments fall under one’s area of specialty, he or she must not attempt it unless one has utmost confidence in performing it. This is so especially in surgical areas where there are high chances of life loss in case of any anomaly.

On documenting the nursing care, they must ensure it is done because all unrecorded nurse care is assumed that it was not rendered. In doing this, maintain facts, accuracy, completeness and time. This makes it easy to explain one’s case when alleged in a court of law.

When these management measures are taken, there is usually minimal potential liability when a medical complication arises and an advanced nurse will be rendering his or her services with maximum confidence and faith. For an advanced nurse who works in acute care facilities and want to avoid litigation, these are irreducible minimum measures to be taken.

Works Cited

Kellner, Douglas. Nursing practice and the law: avoiding malpractice and other legal. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Co., 2001. Print.

Mayberry, Eileen. “Nurses, Negligence, and Malpractice ANP, LNC-C AJN.” American Journal of Nursing 103.9 (2003):54. Print.

Rhodes, Richard. Negligent liability for the nursing profession. New York: Knopf/Random House, 1999. Print

Springhouse Corporation. Malpractice liability. In: Nurse’s legal handbook. 4th ed. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse, 2000. Print.

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