How Can Nurses Avoid Claims of Negligence?
Nurses and caregivers constantly have to deal with risk exposures as part of their jobs. Even with their best efforts and best intentions, there’s always the possibility of facing a lawsuit for negligence or other offenses. Working under this constant threat extracts a huge toll on nursing care professionals, many of who obtain nurse professional liability insurance as protection.
But like all types of insurance, professional liability insurance protects policyholders after the fact. Although it will cover legal costs and settlements arising from a negligence claim, it won’t prevent these incidents from occurring in the first place. Therefore, nursing care professionals must take a proactive approach to reduce the risk of negligence claims from being filed against them.
Why negligence claims are so serious
Nurse negligence is a serious issue and can result in the patient’s injury or death. It can also result in criminal and civil cases being filed against the people deemed responsible, including the caregivers, facility owners, and nursing home administrators.
Charges of negligence are no less serious, whether or not the nurses and facility administrators have been negligent in performing their duties. Apart from the legal issues caused by actual negligence, they can cause considerable damage to the facility’s professional reputation. In some cases, they may cause the business to suffer and even result in the facility’s closure.
Difference between negligence claims and actual negligence
It is important to make a distinction between negligence claims and actual negligence. Both can damage a facility’s reputation and good standing in the community and result in legal consequences. In some cases, they may even result in criminal and civil liabilities.
As the MD and Director of the Center for Health Care Policy, Dr. Deane Waldman is fully aware of negligence claims and actual negligence risks. Part of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the center is at the forefront of policies and guidelines governing the healthcare profession in Texas.
The author of the celebrated series “Restoring Care to American Healthcare”, Dr. Waldman believes that attentiveness, thoughtfulness, and care are crucial to avoiding negligence in healthcare settings. The doctor states that malpractice and negligence claims may even arise even if the nurse or facility exercises the utmost care in performing their tasks.
Preventing cases of actual negligence
To expand on what Dr. Waldman has said, avoiding actual negligence in a nursing care setting involves taking certain proactive measures. The industry publication American Nurse Today identified the following as crucial to preventing and preventing nurse negligence:
- Adhering to established standards of nursing care
- Practicing proper communication
- Maintaining accurate documentation
- Thorough monitoring of processes and procedures
- Regular assessment of patient status and conditions
In general, it is always best for nurses to adhere to their position’s established or mandated requirements, constantly strive to improve and practice proper communication and maintain close attention to the various details of patient care.
Nurses are also advised to work closely with and cooperate with other members of the nursing care staff to improve safety and care outcomes. Taking these steps will help reduce the possibility of being negligent in the care and treatment of the patients in the nurses’ charge.
Avoiding negligence claims
In some ways, avoiding negligence claims can be quite a bit trickier than avoiding actual negligence. Nurses only need to practice care and thoughtfulness when performing their duties to avoid being negligent.
But claims of negligence can arise despite the caregiver’s best intentions. For Dr. Waldman, avoiding these charges requires total compliance with the facility’s rules, guidelines, policies, and regulations and those established in the nursing care industry.
It isn’t enough to provide nursing care services with skill, care, and thoughtfulness in most cases. It is also necessary to remain within the boundaries of administrative and legal policies and regulations.
The peer-reviewed journal for clinical professionals, Nursing 2018, outlines other tips for avoiding negligence claims. Much of the advice deals with exercising special care when treating and medicating patients and maintaining a calm and kind demeanor when involved in any patient interaction.
The journal also recommends that nurses take some time to develop a thorough understanding of their skill sets. Doing keeps them from taking on tasks and assignments that they cannot reasonably perform on their own without assistance or supervision.
About Midwest Insurance Group
Midwest Insurance Group is a risk retention group developed by Caitlin Morgan Insurance Services in response to the unique needs of the healthcare industry, particularly that of senior living facilities. With rising premium costs and difficulties in obtaining coverage from the traditional professional and general liability insurance market, Midwest Insurance Group represents a viable, long-term insurance alternative for the senior living sector, giving members complete control over costs and claims management. Midwest Insurance Group is reinsured with Lloyd’s of London, and A rated by Demotech.