Learning Center Articles

Nursing Liability & Types of Lawsuits

Nursing Liability

  • Negligence- failure to exercise the care toward others that a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances, or taking action that such a reasonable person would not.
  • Failure to exercise the care toward others that a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances.
  • Malpractice- an act or continuing conduct of a professional that does not meet the standard of professional competence and results in provable damages to his or her client or patient
  • Act or continuing conduct of a professional that does not meet the standard of competence and results in provable damages to the patient

Types of Lawsuits

  • Breach of confidentiality
  • Defamation of character- sharing information that would be detrimental to the client’s reputation
    • Libel (written)
    • Slander (Oral)
  • Invasion of privacy- searching a client without probable cause
  • Assault and battery where in a person’s genuine fear and apprehension that the client would be touched without their consent and unconsented touching respectively.
  • False imprisonment

Avoiding Liability

  • Effective communication- using SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation) to other healthcare providers and also establish rapport with clients that will encourage open and honest communication.
  • Accurate and complete documentation in the medical record- Since the development of new technology that has encouraged healthcare systems to adopt electronic health records that are the best sources for informatics due to standard of quality and safety in nursing.
  • Complying with standards of care- ANA standards and hospital polies
  • Knowing the client- allowing and helping the clients be involved in their own care
  • Practicing within the nurse’s level of competence and scope of practice- not only adhering to professional standards but also keeping knowledge and skills current through evidence-based literature, in-service, and continuing education.