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Elements of Malpractice in Nursing
A nursing intervention may result to a medical error, and this error may occur due to the nurse’s failure to competently treat a patient. This occurrence constitutes a case of malpractice, and it is associated with various elements including negligence. As one of these elements, negligence involves failing to follow the due clinical procedures or directives for performing an intervention. This is noticeable in a scenario where a nurse, instead of examining a patient and performing diagnosis tests, puts a patient on a medication regimen (Cheluvappa & Selvendran, 2020). This amounts to negligence because the nurse fails to perform diagnosis, which is necessary to inform the kind of treatment to administer.
Breach of duty, still, is an element linked to the act of malpractice. It is characterized by a provider failing to meet the required standards of caring for patients. A nurse has a duty of preventing injury of the patient by administering the correct medication. If a nurse receives instructions from a physician to administer a certain medication, and the nurse instead of administering the medication, administers another medication that serves the same purpose, this amounts to breach of duty (Kim, 2017). This is because they go against the physicians’ decisions to have the patient receive a particular treatment that might be less risky.
Cases of malpractice can be costly to the nurses and the organizations they work for, and this warrants the need for nurses as well as hospitals to prevent these cases. For nurses, adopting measures or practices such as documentation medical information in clear and accurate manner, can help limit their risks of making mistakes. Being consistent in observing the protocols of administering care, still, can limit the occurrence of negligence (Hågensen et al.,2018).
Advanced nurse practitioners work in complex healthcare environment vulnerable to malpractice lawsuits. Over the past years, malpractice lawsuits have increased as healthcare consumers become informed (Myers, Sawicki, Heard, Camargo Jr & Mort, 2020). Medical malpractice is defined as any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient. it is a subset of tort law that deals with professional negligence. Professional negligence is defined as conduct that fall short of a standard by a reasonable professional (Cooper, 2016). Negligence can be a result in diagnosis errors, errors in treatment, aftercare, or management. The four core elements of medical malpractice personal injury include duty, breach of duty, damage, and cause (Joel, 2017). For a patient to claim malpractice, they must demonstrate that a healthcare practitioner owed them a duty to care. Duty of care is based on nurse-patient or physician-patient relationship. The healthcare practitioner who had the duty of care must have failed n their duty by not exercising the expected degree of care that another professional in the same capacity and specialty would have used in an equal situation. In this case, an expert must testify as to what constitutes appropriate standard of care. The expert must hold the same or higher qualification in the same field or be a professional or regulatory body. The patient must demonstrate that the breach of duty resulted to damage, including emotion or physical injury. The breach of duty may cause a new injury or worsen an existing injury. Finally, it must be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the breach of duty by the practitioner caused the injury. For instance, the patient or plentiful must demonstrate that a medical error led to injury or harm.
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