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Avoiding Liability Bulletin – September 1, 2012

It doesn’t seem possible that this Bulletin for nurses has been up and running since  October of 2011. Time has really flown by for me and I hope that the Bulletin has been helpful to you in learning more about the legal aspects and issues of your professional practice.

As you know, the selection of topics covered in the Bulletin has been mine alone.  I have tried to pick topics I thought would be interesting to you, increase your knowledge base about the law and nursing practice, and provide a stimulus for you to learn more about the law as it pertains to nursing practice. Believe me, there is lots of additional information to cover, and I can, and will, continue to write about the areas of law that I think are important for you to know about.

But, I would also like to know what you are concerned about in your everyday practice.  Nursing practice in today’s health care arena is challenging at best. What issues do you face?  What bothers you most about liability and patient care?  What changes in your nursing practice are bothersome to you?  

As examples, federal and state statutes that have an effect upon your practice are a source of potential liability for the practicing nurse.  You may also have questions about the law generally.  It may be, for example, that you are unclear about the judicial system’s structure, both at the state and federal level.  Or, you may wonder who makes a decision about a nurse’s conduct meeting criteria for a criminal violation of the law.

Whatever your issues or concerns are, it would not be surprising that your nurse colleagues who read this Bulletin have the same concerns and issues.  I often get requests from practicing nurses for sources of information that involve “real life” situations that pertain to their practice. So, why not share your “real life” practice topics or questions?

Just send in a topic or a short sentence about your issue or concern.  Simply click the “Comments” button at the bottom of this Bulletin.  Anonymity will be maintained. Hopefully the discussion of them in this Bulletin will be of benefit to you and to all of its readers.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Nancy Brent

Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, a nurse attorney in private law practice in Wilmette, IL, represents nurses and other health care providers before the state agency that regulates health professionals. Brent graduated from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 1981. Her experience prior to opening her private practice included a year of insurance defense for a major insurance company and establishing a law firm with two other attorneys. After three years of doing defense work at the firm, Brent decided to establish a private practice in 1986. Brent has published extensively and has lectured across the country in the area of law and nursing practice. She is a member of several legal and nursing professional associations, including the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, the Illinois State Bar Association, and The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA).

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