Legal aspects of nursing
Legal aspects of nursing that are associated with helping and caring for people in the health care industry have become an important prerequisite to be aware of. Cases of negligence are on the rise and this result to less people wanting to get into the health care industry with fear of legal aspects and inevitable law suits. The first nursing registration law was created in 1903.
Most nurses are familiar with Tort law, which involves malpractice and negligence cases which many of them take time to learn thoroughly as this is one of the biggest worries in the medical field. A wrongful act, whether intentional or unintentional, that causes harm is basically a Tort. The most common laws to nurses and doctors involve malpractice where the standards of care are not met and this requires them to be familiar with this law in order to continue their care and duties efficiently. During their daily shifts nurses must be very cautious in recording, documenting and reporting their routines and decisions in order to make sure they are on track with their patients. Making the right decisions as well as maintaining and organizing medical reports is a proper way of ensuring that a patient is taken good care of.
Nursing law serves a number of functions: establishes which nursing actions in the care of patient are legal, separates nurses responsibilities from those of other health professional, maintains a standard of nursing practice by ensuring nurses are accountable under the law and it assists in establishing the boundaries of independent nursing action. Nurses are bound by the nursing practice act that stipulates rules and regulations which are determined by the legislature. Nursing practice falls both under public and civil laws. Public laws protect the public while civil law deals with conflicts between a nurse and a patient.
A nurse can lose his or her license to practice if he or she violates a public law. For example if a nurse is found guilty of diverting drugs which is a crime against the state and the public, leads to incarceration. Legal aspects need to be applied by nurses in their roles and ensure that necessary care is present in maintaining the health and safety of patients.
In conclusion, nursing students and nurses should be aware of their legal responsibility and that is to do no patient intentional harm since a nurse is responsible for a patient’s care. A nurse should be competent in practice and be aware that any negligent act in the line of profession may become a malpractice law suit.