Defined, Described, Destroyed
In the past the word negligence normally only encompassed the wrongs of a physician and at that time there was a distinct division between a nurse and a physician. The roles of nurses today however have changed quite drastically. Today’s nurses have assumed many functions and responsibilities that were previously performed solely by the physician. As the roles of nurses have advanced and the profession has become much more specialized and independent from physicians, the liability for negligence has shifted from solely being a physicians concern to one that encompasses the nursing profession also. We are going to take a look at negligence as it pertains to today’s nurses. First by defining negligence as it pertains to the nursing profession, next looking at a scenario where there was negligence on the part of the nurse, and finally looking at what can be done to avoid negligence in nursing while performing duties.
Negligence in nursing is the failure of a nurse to act as a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances, which causes or results in harm to the patient. The elements of negligence are: (1) duty; (2) breach of duty; (3) causation; and (4) injury and damages. Duty is nurses, as employees, agreeing to and completing their assignments. Breach of duty is the failure of the nurse to follow the standards of care found in the hospital’s policies and procedures, authoritative nursing textbooks, Board of Registered Nursing (BRN), and the nursing specialty association guidelines/standards. Standards of Care can be defined as care that is taught in nursing schools, with reference text books, and the hospital policy and procedure manuals. It is also the nurse’s responsibility to obtain continual knowledge of the on going changes in health care. Many states mandate continued education in order to...