As a nursing professional, you have a very demanding job. Especially if you work in a hospital, you may put in exceptionally long shifts. Not only do you probably work 12 hours at a time, but you may also have to alternate working on certain holidays and on weekends, meaning that you have to sacrifice family life for your profession.
Many people who work in nursing are happy to make such personal sacrifices in addition to pursuing years of formal education to obtain a nursing license. Your commitment to your career and your professional reputation could both be at risk if your employer or individual patients accuse you of medical negligence.
How do you defend yourself in front of the nursing board when accused of medical negligence?
Provide your side of the story
All too often, claims of negligence come from people who are unhappy with their medical outcome, rather than concerned with specific behaviors from individual medical professionals. Other times, such claims are the result of a medical facility trying to blame an individual for a specific situation.
You have the opportunity to defend your license and your professional reputation. You can demonstrate that your actions did not constitute negligence, which will require that you gather evidence. Perhaps you can show that your actions followed the established best practices for that circumstance according to your employer’s handbook. Maybe you can bring in expert witnesses that will testify that other professionals would make the same choice given the same information and a similar circumstance.
What looks like negligence to a casual observer may actually simply be the best decision possible in a situation where you have limited time or resources. Creating a clear explanation for your behavior and establishing that you either followed your employer’s policies or offered the same support that other professionals would can help you protect your nursing license from claims by patients, unhappy family members or even your employer.
Your license can be at risk even without criminal charges
In extreme cases, those who contribute to poor medical outcomes through negligence or misconduct may face criminal prosecution. Frequently, those suspected of involvement in unfortunate medical situations will face licensing consequences or career penalties rather than criminal prosecution. Even if you don’t have to go to criminal court, you still may require the support of a lawyer when responding to claims that you are negligent when providing support for a patient.
Proactively defending your nursing license and reputation against claims of negligence will help you protect your profession after having invested so many years in developing it.