Russell (2012) argues that “nurses, caregivers, and physicians should abide by the standards of medical practice” (p. 38). Nurses should also embrace the best codes of practice to support the ever-changing health needs of their respective patients (Sharmil, 2011). They should provide quality care to their respective patients. However, some malpractices usually occur in different healthcare settings. For example, caregivers might administer wrong drugs to specific patients. The presented scenario indicates that an oral drug (digoxin 0.25 mg) was administered to the wrong patient. The case study also indicates that the patient did not develop any complications or ill effects. However, it is notable that the scene portrays major medical malpractice. Similar malpractices can affect the health outcomes of many patients.
That being the case, Mr. Jones might not file a malpractice case. This is the case because such “cases require both damages and negligence” (Chiarella & McInnes, 2012, p. 79). The elements of liability also indicate that the hospital should be responsible. The concept of vicarious liability will apply in this situation. The malpractice took place in the course of the nurse’s employment (Sharmil, 2011). The other important thing to understand is that nurses are required to support and promote the best healthcare practices. They should be cautious to avoid different malpractices and medication errors (Marquis & Huston, 2015). This kind of practice will ensure more patients get the best support and eventually realize their health goals.
Civil law “is defined as a legal system used to monitor private relations between individuals in the society” (Mattie, Azevedo, Tai, & Cadden, 2014, p. 3). Civil law is therefore used in nursing practice to support the needs of different clients and practitioners. Healthcare practitioners and nurses will always “be accountable to specific civil laws used in their respective countries” (Mattie et al., 2014, p. 4). This law supports the performance of different nurses. Healthcare professionals should be aware of different civil laws governing their standards of practice. They should also support the welfare of their patients (American Nursing Association, 2010). They should also never engage in specific medical malpractices.
Russell (2012) observes that harassment is a major legal issue affecting many healthcare settings. Civil law can therefore be used to ensure different practitioners respect one another. This law discourages practitioners from engaging in various malpractices that can affect their patients. Civil law is therefore a double-edged weapon that can support or destroy the future outcomes of a practitioner (American Nursing Association, 2010). This is the case because various legal aspects encourage nurses to respect, support, and empower each other (Marquis & Huston, 2015). Such laws make it easier for caregivers to provide the most acceptable care to their patients. Any “medical malpractice or negligence can result in civil litigation thus jeopardizing the career of the affected caregiver” (Russell, 2012, p. 40). Nurses should therefore consider these aspects of civil law to achieve their career objectives.
American Nursing Association. (2010). Nursing: Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses. Silver Springs, MD: Nursebooks.
Chiarella, M., & McInnes, E. (2012). Legality, morality and reality ‑ the role of the nurse in maintaining standards of care. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26(1), 77-83. Web.
Marquis, B., & Huston, C. (2015). Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing: Theory and Application. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health.
Mattie, A., Azevedo, A., Tai, T., & Cadden, D. (2014). The False Claims Act’s broad-reach to substandard healthcare: Recommendations to organizations. Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, 9(1), 1-17. Web.
Russell, K. (2012). Nurse Practice Acts Guide and Govern Nursing Practice. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 3(3), 36-42. Web.
Sharmil, H. (2011). Awareness of Community Health Nurses on Legal Aspects of Health Care. International Journal of Public Health Research Special Issue, 1(1), 199-218. Web.