RN’s, Professional Liability Issues, & Advocacy

American Nurse Today.

Among others topics re: liability, this article (link above, from American Nurse Today, ANA) talks about hot spots for RN’s trying to advocate for their patients:

Failure to act as patient advocate is an increasingly common element in malpractice suits. Frequently, patient advocacy relates to challenging physician orders. Physician challenges may involve medications, respiratory management, discharge decisions, and many other aspects of patient care. It may also involve a request that the patient be moved to a different unit or even a different facility to receive optimal care.
If you think a physician’s order could harm your patient, first discuss the situation with the physician; if this doesn’t resolve your concern, activate the chain of command within your facility’s nursing hierarchy. The chain usually starts with the charge nurse or unit manager.
Nurses typically pride themselves on being patient advocates and on being the last safety check. But sadly, physician intimidation or unsupportive management may prevent full advocacy efforts by nurses.

The new role of Patient Advocacy as a nursing specialty requires especially diplomatic communication with physicians and healthcare institutions. Because of medical malpractice that every healthcare provider faces today, when we start going out on limbs to keep our patients safe, we can be improperly seen as adversaries. As advocates we are actually able to work collaboratively with the medical team and help prevent errors, e.g., when a clinician writes an order that is incorrect, with potential damaging effects to our patient, we can point this out to the medical team before it happens.

Therefore, effective patient advocacy is needed now more than ever. Keeping patients safe in a crippled medical system ought to be a “no-brainier”.



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