Bulger & Rostow (1989) stated that a certified nurse according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) has to be equipped educationally in the field of nursing and midwifery. This profession usually involves the essential care given to newborns and the mothers (Rostow & Bulger, 1989). Different individuals practice this profession at the hospital and at home. Home care for pregnant women mostly results to a number of malpractices because of the insufficiency in necessary equipments required for conducting their professional duties effectively. However, various cases have come up as well for the hospital professionals who have been charged with negligence on their duties.
In the event of performing one’s duties, certain issues may arise, that could lead to technicalities regarding the patient’s health. Such situation exposes the practitioner to a negligence claim. For instance, in the event of giving care to a patient, a nurse in the John James Memorial Hospital Ltd was sued for negligence of her duties of attending to the patient after giving her medication for her sciatic pain. The patient suffered a number of falls, which compounded her condition (DLA Philips Fox, n.d). During the court case, the nurse was held liable for negligence of her duties. This is following her claims that the doctor did not inform her about the medication administered to the patient. However, the nurse was professionally expected to know the side effects of the medication and offer advice to the patient. She did not perform her duty which led to the eventual complications.
General nursing practices require that registered practitioners incorporate their independent judgment. In essence, their conduct is also expected to be in line with their professional standards. Failure of meeting these expectations is what usually leads to the cases of negligence. However, there is a number of aspects that come to play before an action is considered to be negligent. First is the proof that there was an obligation of care. This involves the evidence that the nurse facing the charges was indeed responsible for providing care to the affected patient. For instance, in the case above, the patient had to prove that her injuries were due to the negligence of the nurse who was supposed to enlighten them on the side effects of the medication and offer assistance to them.
Breach of care involves the nurse’s failure to provide reasonable care. In most cases, this involves the provision and availing of information to the patient, the nurse’s individual judgment during care giving and treatment. In reference to the John James Hospital case, the nurse breached her responsibility by failing to provide the patient with the information on the medication she had given and to attend to her, which led to the patient injuring herself. These claims are made mostly when there is an evidence of the foreseeable injury. In the event of giving care to patients, it is commonplace for medical practitioners to make certain mistakes, most of them lead to legal cases, which could be damaging to the practitioner. It is, thus, vital for the practitioner to be careful in their field in order to avoid the negligent cases (DLA Philips Fox, n.d).
Ways to Proactively avoid or Prevent the Negligence
In essence, most of the cases which arise from negligence are possible to avoid in a number of ways. First is the acknowledgement that negligence does not necessarily mean that the practitioner is incompetent. Various steps can be taken to avoid such cases. For instance, medical providers need to design care schemes that do not exclusively rely on the ability of the practitioners to execute their duties in a perfect manner. Allowances should be given for the occurrences of mistakes. Moreover, it should be acknowledged that not all mistakes may lead to the cases of negligence. This is because, despite the provision of perfect care giving, issues might arise thereafter (Rostow & Bulger, 1989).
In addition, the provision of support for the practitioners will also contribute to the prevention of the negligent cases. This includes the implementation of policies and guidelines, which provides a comprehensible outline on the expectations of the practitioners. The ability to have an identified guide that defines the way practitioners are expected to perform their duties plays a vital role in ensuring that care is given accordingly to patients. In essence, support provided to practitioners often enables individuals to perform their duties effectively. This is because individuals can share ideas on which steps to take and this helps to minimize individual judgments, which could be susceptible.
Effective communication is another way of avoiding negligent cases. This involves the constant information flow between the medical practitioners and the patients. Providing information to patients on the type of medication being given to them equips them with knowledge on the side effects that might arise from it. In essence, this will enable them to take precaution and minimize medical risks. Moreover, medical providers will be aware of the type of medication patients are receiving and, thus, will be able to offer the appropriate care. In most instances, medical staff works on shifts, thus, constant communication between them enables the incoming group to be aware of the patients’ conditions.
Additionally, working as a team is a paramount step in the prevention of cases of negligence. In various instances, hospitals seek the help of independent established professional to offer services to their patients. This has enabled most caregivers to improve their services. The teamwork involves the coordination between medical practitioners and provision alternative views for a situation that proves to be challenging a person to handle. At times, individual judgments could be wrong. Another person’s opinion helps in the critical analysis of the situation and enables individuals to come up with a more appropriate approach.
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