Health Care Professionals Criminal Liability

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Professional Regulation and Criminal Liability of Nurses
Christopher Ponciano
September 27, 2010
Legal Issues in Health Care: Regulation and Compliance (HCS/430) University of Phoenix

Professional Regulation and Criminal Liability of Nurses
The health care field is a very complex workplace environment and the terminology like malpractice encompasses the negligence of health care professionals. In the past, there is a division that existed between physicians and nurses. Additionally, nurses had very defined framework, in which nurses are to wait after a patient have been seen by doctors and simply implements the physician’s order. In other words, nurses are not to diagnose, treat symptoms, or prescribe medications. In the past, criticism from nurses to a doctor’s order is considerably unprecedented. The role of nurses; however, has changed tremendously from simply performing a doctor’s order to assuming the previous role of physicians. Additionally, medical facilities in the country begun assuming physician’s duties, such as vital examination, diagnosis, and medical treatment for patient; oftentimes, nurses assume duties with indirect supervision from a physician. Increasingly, the advance role of nurses became very sophisticated, specialized, and independent profession. Additionally, expansion of the nurse’s role became imperative because of the ever-increasing demand concerning cost-conscious health care. Consequently, the shifted role of nurses prompted negligence issues to its counterpart professional liability also known as malpractice liability. Furthermore, nurses are the first contact when patients enter the medical facilities. Often nurses are responsible for all necessary treatments prior to seeing a physician, which puts the nurses in a direct line of professional liability from failure to follow standards of care to malpractice issues. Consumers Civil Liability Complaint Process

Patient rights are always a huge concern in the health care field and the complaints are taken seriously all the time. Individuals have the right file complaints against misconduct, misrepresentation, or harassment. In the health care field, patients need to submit complaints to the nursing board or to the state department of professional regulation. For example, when filing a complaint individuals must include first and last name of the nurse, license number (only if known), the address and general location, what and where it happened, and full description of the situation from the complaint’s own words (Maine Board of Nursing, n.d). Furthermore, the board of nursing prefer a written letter rather than a completed for as it offers the board full description of the situation. Collectively, the Nursing Board is responsible for both supervising the profession of nursing, and for protecting nurses' rights to practice the profession, maintain a livelihood, and provide a critical service to citizens (Karno, 2005). Continually, filing a complaint against any health care provider like nurses are not the same just as filing complaints to a supervisor of a call center or department store. In other words, the complaint must always be made to the board members and complaints made to nurses are made through the Board of Nursing. Role of regulatory agencies.

The Board of Nursing in each State of the country is responsible for examination, licensure, and disciplinary procedure and the Board of nursing function as the governmental agencies. According to the Oklahoma Nursing Practice Act (the “Act”), the Board has the authority to investigate all reported violations of the Act (Burnsed, 2008). However, the act does not offer guidelines on how the Board of Nursing conducts the investigation. The disciplinary process starts upon receiving the letter of complaint from a concerned family member, patient, employers, coworkers, or other state agencies. After the initial review of the complaint, it is the...
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