The Nurses Service Organization (NSO) has released its 2015 claims report. NSO collects data every year including claims against nurses, their areas of practice and how the claim is resolved.
Of 549 claims against nurses last year that were closed, 88.5% involved RN’s while 11.5% involved LPN’s. This is interesting because this is almost the same ratio of the number of practicing RNs to LPNs. NSO paid almost an astounding $90.4-million in malpractice claims against nurses. But the average paid claim was only $164,586.00. Neurology and obstetrics were considered the highest level of claims because of the cost involved in lifelong one-on-one nursing care for the injured party. I think medical malpractice claims are on the rise with short staffing and changes in reimbursement causing health care institutions to do more with less.
Although the thought of malpractice causes nurses to shudder, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself.
- Use your GIFTS. If you don’t know about “G.I.F.T.S.” and what they are, please look at other articles in this blog to learn about your GIFTS and how they work to help you in your nursing career.
- Develop a relationship with your patients. Friends don’t sue friends!
- Make sure you timely report stages and conditions,
- Don’t be afraid to invoke or utilize your chain of command,
- Make sure to timely implement practitioner orders,
- Make sure to timely transfuse ordered blood and blood products,
- Make sure you’re providing care to the correct patient,
- Follow critical pathways,
- Respond to equipment warning alarms and make sure that there are no retained foreign bodies in surgery patients.
If you want to look at this study yourself, click here.
NSO also provides a risk control self-assessment checklist for nurses. I advise that you take this checklist and should you answer “No” to any of the questions, try to determine what action can you do to reduce the risk.
Thanks to Anne Lewellyn of http://www.nurseadvoactes.net for the inspiration for this article.