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What should you do if a patient files a complaint?

Patients may have complaints against you, but that doesn't mean your license should be at risk. Anyone can file a complaint, even if you didn't do anything wrong.

This creates a stressful situation that many nurses don't deserve. While handling it correctly can help you learn many valuable skills, not handling it correctly adds stress and anxiety to your life and threatens your license.

What should you do if you face a patient complaint?

First, you'll have the Board of Nursing let you know about a complaint. This is a disciplinary body, so they will want to know what happened and if you are operating as a safe health care worker. If the board tells you something isn't within your scope of practice, always mind what it says, even if the hospital or clinic tells you otherwise.

It's also a wise idea to get an attorney because you don't want to face a lawsuit without support. A good attorney protects you against patient lawsuits and also has ways to help you protect yourself against the Board of Nursing. You want the Board of Nursing to look upon you favorably, which your attorney can help you with.

Finally, take a deep breath. You need to prepare your documents and an argument for why you did nothing wrong, but you also have to protect your health. Stay focused on continuing a positive practice, and listen to the instructions you receive. At the end of the day, patients will always complain, but you will always have the opportunity to protect yourself against their claims.

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