4 Tips on How Nurses Can Avoid Malpractice

4 Tips on How Nurses Can Avoid Malpractice

Any nurse will do everything in their power to care for their patients. But sometimes, mistakes can’t be avoided. It happens. And it is also among the common reasons why some nurses face charges of malpractice.

Even if the case was unintentional, malpractice could still be charged. It is why, as nurses, we must know our rights and ensure our job is not compromised.

But how can we avoid being sued for malpractice? And what can we do to avoid the things that could lead to a malpractice lawsuit? 


Why Malpractice Happens

Nurses work in healthcare facilities where workflow can be unpredictable. Add factors like understaffing, unfair nurse-patient ratio, Covid-19, and burnout, and you have a recipe for disaster.

In addition, nurses work in all aspects of the medical field. Their involvement in people’s lives, topped with different responsibilities, puts them in a vulnerable position most of the time.

This position also increases their risk of malpractice allegations, a reality that many professional nurses face every day. 


Avoid Malpractice with These Tips

How can a nurse avoid accusations of malpractice? If you want to avoid this predicament and be careful with your daily patient interaction, here are helpful tips you can follow:


1. Be attentive and mindful of the patient care you give.

Imagine being hospitalized; you are in a vulnerable state where you’re uncomfortable. Not only that, but you’re also in a lot of pain and discomfort. How would you feel? But despite all that, you have the nurse who attends to your needs.

If you are the patient, wouldn’t you love your nurse to be attentive to your needs and provide you with the best care? Exactly. 

Paying attention to the patient care, you give your patients helps ease any anxiety your patient may have. You can execute procedures and nursing care plans properly when you’re focused.

However, there are moments when nurses can’t give the same amount of attention to all patients. And not all patients understand that each patient’s care goes through a triage system where the most severe cases are prioritized first. 

It is challenging for many nurses to make their patients comfortable, especially those waiting in the ward. That said, nurses must build rapport and ensure that patients are treated with respect and etiquette. It will help them ease up and trust you as the nurse caring for them. 


2. Always explain the consent and how patients are processed.

As I have mentioned, not all patients understand the procedures and processes of their healthcare facility. In some cases, some patients may be protective of their health conditions.

You must explain how their data will be used when they consent. Let your patients ask questions and take your time to explain the answer to their inquiries. It will give them a better understanding of their situation and what they should anticipate. 


3. Document your work at all times. 

Many hospitals follow SOPs or standard operating procedures in different situations. To avoid malpractice, know these rules and hospital policies. Ensure that you refer to them when you are making your decisions.

Write them down on your nurse’s notes, especially when giving medications, doing procedures, and complying with patient requests. Always document in detail and make sure you have a copy. It will also help doctors diagnose accurately and ensure the best treatment options. 

Written documentation will protect you and other healthcare professionals should a patient claim malpractice and file a case against your team. While nurses cannot avoid committing mistakes at work, we can’t eradicate them.

Nurses must be vigilant by being mindful of their work, protecting their rights, and defending their actions. 


4. Sign up for training and continued education.

Just because you obtained your RN license, your role ends there. Keep in mind that the healthcare system is continuously changing. And it will continue to do so for many years to come.

Technological advancements and innovations in many hospitals are also changing, which is why training and education must continue. 

In some hospitals, nurses must complete several hours of educational training to increase their competency requirements. It also helps nurses update their skills and knowledge about recent changes and best practices within the nursing field.

With proper knowledge and correct documentation, nurses have a good chance of defending themselves. 


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