New York nurses fulfill an important role in healthcare. They provide invaluable services to doctors and patients. However, nurses aren’t doctors and have limited authority in medical settings. But this hasn’t stopped healthcare facilities from shouldering nurses with more responsibility.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider does something wrong while providing patient healthcare — when the medical mistake causes death, illness or injury to the patient. In some cases, the mistake might make the patient’s condition worse. The rise in medical malpractice claims against nurses raises the concern that perhaps nurses are expected to provide services beyond their training.
Most people think of doctors when discussing medical malpractice. However, nursing mistakes can also fall into this category. Several factors can contribute to why a nurse might commit medical malpractice.
Too Much Responsibility
Post-university reports say that what’s expected of nurses has changed dramatically. Traditional caretaking was once the focus of nursing. Now, modern nurses are expected to perform a more clinical role. In addition to traditional nursing education, nurses often need additional extensive training and certification.
Some nurses now have the authority to provide care independently, prescribe medicines and diagnose patients. Those roles were formerly reserved for doctors. Extending this authority to nurses has opened the door for more omissions or errors that can result in medical malpractice.
Healthcare facilities often deal with staffing shortages. In some situations, nurses take up the slack by working more hours and caring for more patients. Errors are more likely when nurses are overworked and fatigued.
The healthcare industry relies heavily on advanced technologies. Electronic health records, automated medication-dispensing machines and various medical devices are common in today’s healthcare facilities. Human error is possible when dealing with software or electronic devices.
These are only a few situations that can result in nurses facing claims of medical malpractice. Healthcare facilities can possibly decrease the risk by focusing on education and communication with nurses.