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Possible Legal Risks a Nurse Might Encounter

Possible Legal Risks a Nurse Might Encounter

Stephanie Larkin /

In today’s litigious society, it can be easy for the nursing staff to become involved directly or indirectly in legal matters. However, just as the amount of cases has increased, there are some common themes among legal battles involving nursing practitioners that have stood out. By understanding some of the issues at work, nurses can avoid many of the trouble or high risk areas that might create future legal situations. Over-stressed and exhausted individuals can make errors which could develop into legal entanglements. Though, with today’s nursing shortage, longer hours and increased patient load may be unavoidable. Here are a few areas in which nurses could possibly be placed in a legal situation.


Obviously, if a nurse is neglecting the patients in his or her care, the nurse can be held responsible for the negligence. Negligence is the failure to take an action that should be attended to. Medication not administered, care not given, supervision not provided-all of these things may qualify as negligence. A patient has the right to expect that a certain level of care would be provided to them. If this level is not maintained, the patient may have grounds for pursuing legal action to remedy the results of the negligent activities.

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