Medical Malpractice and the Nurse
Many of you heard about medical practice acts and the people who are being affected. First, the physician, and next the nurses, the main focus of this article are the nurses.
So what does a simple, well-trained and alert nurse to do with medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice by definition means improper or unskilful care of client’s by the nurse. It is best illustrated by this example:
Take note the names here are not real nor is not pertaining to a certain person in real life.
Situation: Nurse Jane is assigned in the operating room. Dr. De La Cruz, the anaesthesiologist on duty was her long time best friend since high school. Because of this common relationship, Dr. De La Cruz allowed Nurse Jane to induct the anaesthesia to the patient after proper preparation for the surgery.
The operation went on well and the patient was then transferred to the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit. The patient undergone a major surgery and was expected to return to his conscious state after 4hours. Twelve hours have past, the patient was still unconscious. The anaesthesiologist’s attention was called and held liable of the case. It was then found out that a higher dose of anaesthesia was given.
All the medical personnel present to that operation were called and held for proper deliberation of the incident.
Nurse Jane has to answer her role during the surgery.
It shows in the example how the nurse acts during a certain medical procedure. She performed one act that qualifies her of malpractice. Malpractice therefore is performing a skill that is not covered by your profession as mandated by the governing law of the land.
Here in the Philippines, nurses are not affected by the medical malpractice however such acts are still accountable against the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 R.A. 9173.
So as a newly registered nurse, or would be nurse what are the things that must be learned and taken in heart to avoid this similar situation?
1. Know by heart the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 R.A. 9173. This is the “bible” of nurses in the Philippines. The duties and responsibilities as well as the scope of nursing practice is clearly stated here. There are certain roles of nurses that needs training and specialization to legally practice in Philippine hospitals.
2. Be familiar of the By-Laws of the Philippine Nurses Association. This is the mother organization of nurses in the Philippines. It serves as the second home of nurses wherein they annually convene and collaborate updates about the current modalities of nursing care.
3. The Philippine Constitution. It states the Bill of Rights (Article III) wherein in section 1 it states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without the due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the law. Article XIII tells about the right of the every individual to health and to receive services that enables them for optimal health. Article XV mentions the family and its foundation of the nation. Nurses have roles in these components of the society, the individual, family and the community as a whole.
4. Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses. The Board of Nursing promulgated this last July 2004 because the Filipino nurse preserves worth and dignity of the human being. It covers the ethical principles of registered nurse between people, practice, co-workers, society and environment.
5. The Nightingale Pledge. Last but not the least, The Nightingale’s Pledge serves as a binding wisdom of all nurses around the world. It is the backbone of all the efforts that a nurse protects the white uniform as the symbol of purity of the profession. This is the fundamental state that a registered nurse should be a preserver of life and a good coordinator of the health team.
There are lots of laws, regulations and policies that guides the nurse to safely practice his or her profession without being at danger of such malpractices. Before you get so tied up with these do’s and don’ts of our dear profession, inhale and comfortably exhale that nursing is fundamental for humans as preserver of this precious life that God can only give.
Photo credits: www.legalnursingservices.net