Nur4327 Legal Resource for Nursing Staff.


Question Description


Your nurse manager has asked you to identify some key points from best practices in guarding against malpractice and to develop a small reminder resource for the staff nurses. The resource could be designed to attach to the back of a name badge or put into a small notebook that reminds them of the key steps for best practice and the standards of care for legal responsibility and malpractice.


Create a legal resource for nursing staff that:

  • Examines the definition of standards of care and scope of practice within your state. (Minnesota)
  • Determines the essential elements of nursing malpractice.
  • Appraises best practices for legal compliance.
  • Provides stated ideas with professional language and attribution for credible sources with correct APA citation, spelling, and grammar in the legal resource.


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Nur4327 Del 5 Material Sources of Law The legislative branch develops what is known as statutory law, or laws that are codified and impact all citizens of the state. Examples include Medicare at the federal level and Medicaid at both the state and federal level. The executive branch enforces the laws and establishes the authority of agencies or departments. The agencies develop the rules and regulations and provide for specific police power to allow the agencies to enforce the regulations, which is referred to as Administrative Law. The judicial system interprets the statutory law. The state’s courts make decisions regarding cases including those brought by individuals in civil courts as well as those provided by the state against individuals, corporations, and other entities. Types of Law One way to classify law is whether it is criminal law or civil law. Criminal law is concerned with violations against a society based on criminal statutes or code. Penalties can be monetary, imprisonment, and death. Misdemeanors are usually lesser crimes where punishment is a fine or less than one year in prison. An example would be the possession of drugs, which could be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies are more serious crimes punishable by higher fines, more extended imprisonment, and even death, depending on the state. In many states, a felony is a cause for revoking the license to practice. A nurse may be prosecuted criminally for practicing without a license, falsifying information in obtaining his license, failing to provide life support to a terminally ill patient who does not have a Do-Not-Resuscitate, or patient abuse. Civil law involves laws related to negligence, malpractice, labor, and privacy issues. Negligence and malpractice include allegations that the healthcare provider failed to provide care that met the standard of care and harm resulted to the patient. Failure to follow regulations related to privacy issues are often prosecuted as civil cases, although HIPPA violations are also covered under federal criminal law. Most civil cases involve a monetary award. Most states have Good Samaritan Laws that protect those who provide healthier for an emergency or disaster without reimbursement. Good Samaritan Laws would also include someone who stops to assist in an automobile accident. A tort is harm against a person where an individual brings a legal action against another person. A tort can involve simple negligence or be an intentional tort such as assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass. One of the critical factors is the intent to cause harm. To be successful in pursuing a lawsuit for international tort, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had the requisite intent, that injury resulted from the defendant’s action, and that no defense was present. Quasi-international torts are much like intentional torts but involve speech, including defamation of character, invasion of privacy, or breach of confidentiality. Violation of privacy can be purposeful or merely due to a nurse not being sufficiently aware. Breach of confidentiality has become more of an issue with the use of phones and social media. Be mindful of your organization’s social media policy and the details of HIPPA regulations. All nurses should understand how the law defines the acts. Not only violating these principles but witnessing others must be reported immediately to the chain of command to limit your liability and that of your institution. Understand that the Chief Nursing Officer is obligated to report these acts to the state Board of Nursing that has a responsibility for licensure and oversight of registered nurses. Nursing Practice and Licensure Scope of Practice The authority for the practice of nursing is based upon social responsibility, which means that the nurse is accountable to the public for providing culturally sensitive, safe, timely, efficient, patient-centered, quality, and effective nursing care for individuals, families, and populations across the continuum of care. Society validates the existence of the profession through licensure and legislative parameters. Defining the scope of nursing practice starts when the state legislature passes a law, known as the Nurse Practice Act. Each state’s Board of Nursing decides on the rules and regulations governing the practice of the registered nurse, regardless of education level upon entry into practice. The nurse must be familiar with how the board defines the scope of practice, as practicing outside of the scope makes a person liable for any negligence or harm. While nurse practice acts and licensure requirements are state-based, there has been momentum over the last decade to allow states to recognize the license of other states when a nurse moves to a different geographic location. The ability for nurses to move and have their license be recognized is called the State Nurse Compact. For more information about whether your state has joined, consult the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Delegation One of the essential elements of the Nurse Practice Act and an important legal concept is that of registered nursing delegation to both licensed practical nurses and unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) which includes nursing aides, nursing assistants, or patient care technicians. In the act of delegation, the registered nurse assumes responsibility for the care provided and is ultimately legally responsible, as they work under your nursing license. It is essential to understand that the RN is responsible for all care given to the patient. The nurse may not delegate the nursing actions of assessment, evaluation, and communication about the health status of the patient. The nurse may delegate specific tasks to the UAP, depending on their competencies and according to the policies of the agency, for example, the UAP may take vital signs and note the skin condition during bathing. It is the nurse’s responsibility to interpret the vital signs in the context of the patient’s condition and then report to the physician. The UAP can alert the nurse to changes in the skin; the nurse assesses and decides on the plan of action. While the hospital is responsible for making sure that the UAP has the requisite training, the nurse is the one who observes and validates the ability of the UAP to perform their duties adequately. The nurse is responsible for the direct care given to a patient. The UAP is practicing under the RN license. Protecting the RN License Ideally all members of the team act with mutual respect and communication that is designed to protect and enhance the care of the patient. Consideration of the patient is the legal responsibility of the team. The RN must report any concerns about the performance of a UAP, as they assume the responsibility for total nursing care. Make sure to get to know your colleagues and establish team responsibilities. Resources • • American Nurses Association Principles of Delegation National Council of State Boards of Nursing Sources Healthcare assistant. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica Image Quest. Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care (7th ed.), Chapters 53 (pp 447-455), 54 (456464) ...
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School: Duke University


A handout for standards of care, scope of practice, nursing malpractice and best
practices for legal compliance in Minnesota
Standards of Care in Minnesota

Scope of Practice in Minnesota

Nurses are expected to be educated,
competent and licensed to practice.

Nurses should offer comprehensive assessment
of patient using relevant tools (MBN).

Nurses should adhere to set standard operating
procedures in patient care (MBN).

Collaborate with health professionals in
coordination of care

Nurses should advocate for safety of ...

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