Changing boundaries in healthcare roles have lead to anxiety among nurses about their legal responsibilities and accountabilities. As nurses begin their professional obligations, their legal responsibilities begin as well. Their license authenticates that they are capable and qualified under the law to practice their respective professions. It’s a proof that they are able to offer the public their skills and knowledge in giving holistic and quality nursing care.
The nursing practice act is the best guide the nurse can make use of as it defines the legal scope of nursing practice within the geographic boundaries of the jurisdiction. The purpose of the act is to protect the public and enforce acceptable standards of care. These standards of care are utilized as criteria in evaluating their work.
Like any other professions, a professional nurse has many legal obligations. These legal obligations are connected in every service she renders to the patient and they may occur when questions arises in negligence in the conduct of their duties, in the care and supervision of the patient or in the fulfillment of the contractual responsibilities. Liability for negligence therefore shall be charged upon a nurse who has failed to behave as a reasonable, prudent nurse would act in the same situation.
The more and more negligence cases there are, the less people want to get into the health care field fearing legal aspects and imminent lawsuits. Nurses must take as many precautions as they can during their shifts. Documenting, recording and reporting daily routines are one of the few ways to keep on track with the law. Proper care for patients is not only making the right judgments but also maintaining and organizing their medical records efficiently.
Nurses should not be afraid of laws. They should be understood so that their scope and limitations may be delineate and identified. When these are resolve, performance of services and care are assumed with more confidence and safety.
In conclusion, the legal aspect of nursing are expected to be kept up on throughout the nurse’s career and follow them by heart. Basically, nurses should meet the standards of care to prevent medical errors and avoid lawsuits. It also signifies that a nurse should be knowledgeable of the hospital’s protocols and procedures they work on, the nursing law, the standard of nursing care, and other laws which affect nursing practice and their code of ethics. Thus, nurses should enhance their judgments and practice standards of nursing care to protect them and their patients.