Sunday, September 4, 2011

Legal Responsibilities

I. Definition - legally, a breach of the duty to provide nursing care to the client. A form of malpractice. The unintentional failure of an individual to perform or not to perform an act that a reasonable person would or would not perform in a similar set of circumstances. Malpractice is professional negligence.

II. Negligence involves four legal concepts
  • Duty - nurses have a legal obligation to provide nursing care to clients
    1. Must meet a reasonable and prudent standard of care under the circumstances
    2. Must deliver care as any other reasonable and prudent nurse of similar education and experience would, under similar circumstances
  • Breach of Duty - failure to provide expected, reasonable standard of care under the circumstances (include errors of omission or commission)
  • Proximate cause:
    1. Relationship between the breach of duty and the resulting injury
    2. The injured party must prove that the nurse's action or omission led to the injury
  • Damages - the injury and the monetary award to the plaintiff
    1. Example: Mr. X sues Nurse Jones for negligence. Mr. X must prove that Nurse Jones committed a breach of duty and that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of Mr. X's damages

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