What Constitutes Nurse Negligence?

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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 11 February 2020
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Nurse negligence specifically can refer to any action, or lack of action, that produces any damage in a patient. This damage cane be physical, mental, or emotional. Not meeting certain standards of ethics and assistance can also amount to nurse negligence.

In legal terms, negligence is an action done by an assumed “reasonable person” who fails to adhere to the proficiency she possesses. It is the opposing concept of diligence. Nurses, or health care assistants, take on a larger role today as compared to their tasks in earlier decades. More responsibilities can make for greater accountability, so any incorrect data or action can be grounds for nurse negligence.

Specific types of negligence by nurses can be wrong medication type or dosage. Inputting inaccurate patient information or misreading a diagnosis can also constitute as nurse negligence. Regular errors in equipment usage and handling will also be a basis for nursing negligence, especially during surgery. Nurses in the obstetrics and gynecology department are also liable to be culpable of nurse negligence if there is failure to inform the doctor of the current or previous status both of the mother and the fetus.


Medical assistants in nursing homes can also be accountable for nurse negligence or even medical malpractice. Elderly people have special concerns and should be regularly monitored; if nurses fail to do so, they can be charged with nursing negligence. Some types of negligence in nursing homes can include not informing physicians of any sudden changes in a patient, mishandling of a medical apparatus, or irregular and improper assessment of a patient’s vital signs. Whether in a nursing home, clinic, or a hospital, nurse negligence can result in serious consequences for patients young and old, such as an infection or adverse allergic reaction, damage of internal organs, comatose, or even death.

When a patient’s nursing negligence claim is proven to be true for a medical assistant, several consequences can follow. A nurse can be ordered by a court to financially reimburse any damages to a patient, with the amount depending on the severity of damage. In worst cases, nursing licenses can be revoked for a certain period of time, or even permanently. Nurse negligence can be avoided through constant communication and updates among nurses, physicians, and patients.


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