How Can Nurses Protect Themselves from Being Sued?

Working as nurse can be a wonderfully rewarding profession. Not only does it take a strong character to become one—it also requires a healthy dose of motivation to remain one. If you are a nurse, then we would like to congratulate you on being able to overcome the daily challenges that come your way.

With that being said, there are a few challenges that, as a nurse, you might never be able to overcome. One such challenge is the threat of being sued. As you probably already know, working as a nurse comes with a degree of risks. One simple mistake could leave you financially ruined for many, many years. While you can never fully protect yourself from this challenge, there are simple, everyday things that you can do to prevent a lawsuit from being filed against you. Here are five tips for you to go over:

  1. Be kind to your patients. While this might sound obvious, you’d be surprised at how much kindness affects your odds of being sued. Always remain professionals but realize that your patients are humans, not numbers.
  2. Know what you can’t do. Depending on your level of experience, you might be assigned tasks that you aren’t prepared for. Don’t hesitate to refuse them: Claiming to not be familiar with procedures will not protect you in the event of a lawsuit.
  3. Delegate smartly. If your responsibility includes delegating duties, then do it smartly. It is not uncommon for nurses to be held responsible when one of their subordinates commits a mistake. Also make sure to inspect the equipment on a regular and that your subordinates know how to use it properly.
  4. Be careful with medication. Once again, this might sound obvious but medication errors are some of the most common nursing errors.
  5. Document, document and document. This is absolutely crucial, especially in the event of someone exaggerating the facts in a legal lawsuit. Learn how to document procedures and observations properly and you might just save yourself a ton of trouble down the road.
  6. Prevent falls. Always remember the proper procedures, especially if you work with elderly people. The number of nurses being sued each year because they weren’t careful enough is astounding.
  7. Finally, arm yourself with a professional liability insurance policy. While this might not do much to prevent you from being sued, it will at least provide you with peace of mind in the event of someone filling a lawsuit against you.
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