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I made a bad judgment call that resulted in complications for a patient. Should I report myself?

Friday July 13, 2012
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I made a bad judgment call while working at a nursing home. I did something without a physician's order. The resident was already compromised and has had more complications after this incident. Should I report myself?

Marlys



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Marlys,

Accountability and responsibility for one's care are hallmarks of the nursing profession — as are honesty and integrity. Thus, the answer to your question is most probably yes. But your question is without details, so without them, a specific response is not possible. Also, questions that still remain are to whom should the report be made and in what manner.

You need to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who works with nurses and can provide guidance through the process after a full disclosure by you takes place. For example, you may need not only to report the incident to your employer, but also to the nursing board if, as you indicated, your judgment concerning patient care was done without a physician's order.

You should initiate the contact with the attorney of your choice as soon as possible in order to lessen the time between the incident that occurred and your reporting it through the proper channels, should that be your attorney's advice.

Cordially,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.