What to Know About Standards of Care in Nursing

If you’re a nurse, you are likely familiar with the importance of following standard of care guidelines that outline what you should and should not do to provide quality care to your patients. Although standards of care may sound like common sense, with changing regulations, procedures, and technologies, they can sometimes be tricky to navigate. If you fail to adhere to these standards, even if by accident, you could find your license in jeopardy. In this post, you’ll learn more about current standard of care expectations and when you should seek help from a professional license defense attorney.

Why Standards of Care are Important

Within the nursing field, standards of care are developed by organizations that oversee nurses, such as the California Board of Registered Nursing as well as by policies and procedures enacted a facilities and community practices.

Guidelines are created with input from administrative, academic, and clinical nursing experts. As these professionals create guidelines, they also take into account all state and federal laws and regulations that apply to nursing. National as well as state and local nursing standards exist, and it’s extremely important to stay abreast of these standards, as they can vary from place to place.

Standards of care are important because they ensure that quality care is consistently delivered across the profession. They also help ensure that nurses understand proper protocol and provide an objective standard for evaluating nurses’ professional conduct. By familiarizing yourself with standards of care, you’ll understand what is expected of you and have the information you need to provide quality care to your patients.

Legal and License Issues

If a nurse fails to meet the established standards of care and causes a patient harm by acting with negligence, gross negligence, or incompetence, the nurse may be investigated by the board or even become the focus of a malpractice lawsuit. As a nurse, the best thing you can do to ensure you are operating in accordance with standards is to stay aware of all new developments, especially concerning any new technologies and procedures.

Some common reasons nurses are investigated by the board or held liable in malpractice cases include the inappropriate administration of medicine, failure to document, failure to follow physician orders, failure to monitor equipment, and failure to notify patients about potential harms of medications or procedures. In addition, if you fail to protect a patient from a hazard or danger, fail to monitor a patient’s condition, or fail to accurately report your observations in a timely manner, you may be accused of negligence. Any changes in a patient’s condition must always be recorded and communicated to the attending doctor.

Finally, if you are not compliant with state rules and perform duties outside of those you are legally permitted to perform in your area, you may be subjected to investigation or legal action.

When to Seek Help from a Professional License Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of not complying with current nursing standards of care, it is a good idea to get legal help as soon as possible. It’s also best to work with a firm that has in-house nursing lawyers with a strong understanding of standards of care and medical malpractice defense. Whether you have been fired, are under investigation by the board, or your license has been restricted or revoked, the team at SJ Harris Law can help.

Get in touch with us today at 323-794-0701 to schedule 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.