When a health care professional hears the term “medical malpractice,” they may think that it only applies to physicians. Nurses, however, may also need to defend themselves against a malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice overview
If a nurse is accused of medical malpractice, it means that a patient or the patient’s family member believes that the nurse did not provide care that meets the accepted standards of the nursing profession, and it harmed the patient.
Defending against a claim
The specific steps a nurse should take to defend against a medical malpractice claim depends on the circumstances of the case, but there is general information that may be helpful.
Nurses should ensure that their documentation is current, thorough and accurate because it can demonstrate that the nurse followed standard treatment requirements. This may include recording information about medications that were administered to the patient, treatments, vital signs and the patient’s overall condition.
It’s important for the nurse to show that they followed established protocols and procedures for performing patient assessments and communicating changes to the patient’s healthcare team.
Nurses should also document that they communicated clearly with the patient and their family to make them aware of any potential risks of treatment. Nurses can also stay current on continuing education and informed about developments in their profession.
They should also cooperate with investigations and legal proceedings, including providing truthful information. However, there are resources available to help support them through this process.
It’s important for nurses to respond timely to a medical malpractice claim.