Nursing and Negligence: How to Know What’s Against the Code of Ethics


The legal standard of negligence is the general basis for most injury claims. If you are injured in an accident of some kind, then you may be eligible for monetary damages if you can prove the following elements:

  • A duty of care was owed to you;
  • The duty of care was breached by someone;
  • The breach directly caused you some type of injury;
  • The injury cost you money damages.

Anyone can be held liable for negligence. A common example is when you are driving on the road. All drivers on the road have a duty of care for other drivers, and following the traffic and safety laws is one way to fulfill that duty. If you fail to follow traffic laws and cause an accident, then you may be held liable for negligence. If the person who acted negligently is a medical professional acting in their professional capacity, then that professional may be held liable for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice claims can often also be made based on violations of the related code of ethics. If you have questions about potential negligence or malpractice action, then it is important to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.


In order to become a licensed medical professional, candidates go through years of detailed schooling and extensive training. The result is a team of competent medical workers. However, to err is human and both patients and nurses need protection from mistakes. This protection starts with nurses understanding and abiding by the standards of care. By following these standards, nurses protect their patients from negligence and themselves from disciplinary action that could include losing their licensing. These standards are established in the Nursing Practice Act, which outlines how a nurse should execute their duties in the state of California. If a nurse is accused of violating any part of these regulations, they are eligible for investigation by the licensing board and could undergo disciplinary action.


When someone earns a professional license of some kind, they agree to follow a set of standards or ethics that are vital to the viability profession. If doctors and nurses were not held to any standards or held responsible for their actions, then there would be very little confidence in their professions as a whole. If a nurse or other medical professional violates the code of ethics, then they can be subject to license discipline and even revocation. A violation can also lead to civil or criminal liability, depending on the facts and circumstances. There is usually only one person who can be held liable in a negligence case, whereas in a medical malpractice case, many can be held responsible. A medical employer can be held liable for many reasons if an employee commits malpractice. It is important to have a copy of your profession’s code of ethics to answer questions that may arise in your daily practice. If you are a California nurse, then you can find the California Board of Nursing’s code of ethics here


The S.J. Harris Law Office is proud to offer FREE 30-minute consultations to any nurse facing a legal issue. We realize that nurses who are facing potential or actual lawsuits and/or potential discipline against their licenses prefer representation that values proper discretion and privacy. All discussions during any consultation with us will be fully protected by the attorney-client privilege. At S.J. Harris Law, we strive to assist you in maintaining three things: your license, your reputation, and your future. Let our experience go to work for you today. Call us at (310) 361-8585 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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This blog is meant to be informational. It is not meant to be all-encompassing legal advice. If you are facing a situation involving your professional license, seek counsel from a licensed attorney.

Author : Scott J Harris