Patient Abandonment

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For patient abandonment to occur, the nurse must:
a) Have first accepted the patient assignment, thus establishing a nurse-patient relationship, and then b) Severed that nurse-patient relationship without giving reasonable notice to the appropriate person (e.g., supervisor, patient) so that arrangements can be made for continuation of nursing care by others. A nurse-patient relationship begins when the responsibility for nursing care of a patient is accepted by the nurse or certified nursing assistant. Failure to notify the employing agency that the nurse will not be able to appear to work for an assigned shift is not considered patient abandonment by the Board of Nursing, nor is refusal to accept an assignment considered patient abandonment. Once the nurse/certified nursing assistant has accepted responsibility for nursing care of a patient, severing of the nursepatient relationship without reasonable notice may lead to discipline of a nurse/certified nursing assistant’s license. Nurses/certified nursing assistant’s must exercise critical judgment regarding their individual ability to safely provide patient care when declining or accepting a request to work overtime. A fatigued and/or sleep deprived Nurse/Certified Nursing Assistant may have a diminished ability to provide safe, effective patient care. A refusal to work additional hours or shifts would not be considered patient abandonment by the Board of Nursing. The Nurse/Certified Nursing Assistant who follows the above Board of Nursing advisory statement will not be considered to have abandoned the patient for purposes of Board disciplinary action. (Louise R. Bailey, 11/2001) The Board of Nursing’s position on patient abandonment applies to all nurses as well as certified nursing assistants, regardless of their role, who provide direct patient care including: licensed nurses who are consultants, supervisors, administrators, volunteers and others who practice independently. The Board of Nursing...
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