Nurse negligence is founded on the idea that nurses have a duty not only to comply with the standard of reasonable care in terms of the overall care of a patient but also have an obligation to act as an advocate for the patient. Their failure to do so may bring their action within the scope of medical malpractice and may expose them to a medical malpractice action. Under the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses, the nurse as an advocate for the patient must be alert to and take appropriate action regarding any instance of incompetent, unethical, illegal or impaired practice by any member of the health care team. Nurses in general are required to report changes in a patient’s condition and/or to question the orders of a doctor when they are not in accordance with standard medical practice.
The overall nursing standard of care may be established by a number of different means:
- Most states have administrative codes that are called Nurse Practice Acts.
- Nursing organization standards such as standards published by the Nurses Association of the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists.
- Nursing literature. Some standard nursing textbooks are Foundations of Nursing Practice and Illustrated Manual of Nursing Practice.
- Risk management publications. These publications, put out principally by the insurance industry and by hospitals may establish the standard of care.
- Hospital policies and procedures. These need to be obtained in the early course of discovery if litigation is initiated.
If you have been injured as a result of what you believe to be the negligence of a nurse, contact us.
See failure to communicate as a cause of medical malpractice.