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What should you do if you're accused of neglect or malpractice?

As a nurse, the last thing you want to worry about is defending your license. You work with patients day in and day out. You are bound to make mistakes, but the majority of the time, the likelihood is that they won't be dangerous.

The most surprising issue is when you face challenges because of mistakes you didn't make but that patients or their families believe you did. For instance, a family who didn't think you worked fast enough might claim negligence, while another who didn't think you listened to them might try to claim you were insensitive or that you didn't do your job.

What happens when you are accused of medical malpractice?

Even with unsubstantiated claims, you may not be able to work. It depends on the clinic or practice, but you may be placed on leave during an investigation. This is normally paid, but it isn't always.

While you may know you did nothing wrong, now is not the time to take risks. Instead, you should work on a defense. For example, if the patient's family claims a patient's reaction to a medication was due to your negligence, you could show that it was a medication the patient needed for survival or that there was no way to know that the complication would arise. Being able to support your actions can help reduce the risk to your license much faster than if you wait for the medical board to investigate on its own.

Be positive during any investigation, but be realistic. Your attorney can help protect you and your license.

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