What can nurses do to reduce the risk of medical malpractice?

Nurses do everything they can to ensure they provide the best possible care for each patient at all times. However, occasionally, nurses can make a mistake, particularly during busy periods where they become overwhelmed.

This type of medical negligence could lead to compensation claims being made against the hospital. With around 86.7% of claims being successful and the cost taking nearly 7% of the NHS’s yearly budget, it’s important that medical professionals understand how to reduce the risk of malpractice.

As nurses work directly in just about all aspects of medical care, the risk of malpractice increases due to the degree of responsibility and involvement. Here we’ll discuss some of the ways that nurses can reduce the risk of malpractice, both on their own behalf and the institution whom they work for.

Advocate for each patient

Nurses are the best advocates for a patient due to the time spent caring directly for each one compared with other clinical services. This means they have a duty to share any clinical assessment findings with other healthcare professionals and the interdisciplinary team, expressing any concerns about treatment and response.

They must also identify and report any signs of abuse against their patient straightaway to protect their safety. A clear record of any details should be kept, and all information must be kept confidential. If in doubt, nurses should express any clinical opinions to avoid preventable medical errors.

Enroll in continuing education

Once nurses have attained the relevant qualifications, the education shouldn’t stop there. Further studies are important as the healthcare industry is constantly changing. In particular, there are technological advancements that will require additional training.

Some institutions require that their nurses take part in education training. This helps to update staff on useful skills about recent changes in their profession, which can significantly help to prevent malpractice due to lack of competency.

Follow guidelines set by employers

Policies are there for a reason, especially in clinical environments where rules must be adhered to, in order to respect safety. Nurses can avoid medical negligence by consistently following the guidelines set by their employers.

This means that leadership must establish standards to help guide all nurses within the facility. As an example, if regulations prevent nurses from removing an intravenous line, then all nurses within the institution should avoid doing so, regardless of expertise.

Policies reflect an organization’s vision and so nurses should educate themselves about authorized policies in order to avoid deviation from the standard. Failure to do so can place their profession at risk of litigation. Essentially, nurses need to review policies step-by-step before providing care to patients.