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Can a nurse be held liable for a recommendation she makes to a physician about wound care?

Question:

Dear Nancy,

In this scenario can a nurse be held liable for a recommendation she makes about wound care? She calls the physician and describes a wound. The physician asks what she recommends, and they both agree about her recommendation, and then the order is written.

I have checked our state practice act and cannot find anything saying it is up to the physician to come up with the recommendation. The facilities I work for feel all physicians do not have wound care expertise and feel it is the nurse’s responsibility?

Joanne

Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Joanne,

Generally speaking, it is a physician or an advanced practice nurse who orders wound care. However, in some instances, it is possible a physician or advanced practice nurse may not be as familiar with wound care as would a nurse who is certified in this area or is a wound treatment associate.

If there is a consultation with a wound care nurse or wound treatment associate and there is an agreement as to the treatment required for a particular patient, should an injury to the patient occur, the physician or advanced practice nurse and the wound care nurse or wound care associate could all be held liable. Who would answer to the injury to the patient would depend on the specific facts of the particular situation and the scope of practice of each individual healthcare provider.

You might want to learn more about wound care by visiting the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society at www.wocn.org. The website has a great deal of information on nurses who are certified in this area or are wound care associates. Click on the Education tab of the society’s home page.

Wound care is a team effort. Your employer should become familiar with all team members who can contribute to the well-being of someone who needs these services. One way in which this can occur is by utilizing the WOCN’s Wound Treatment Associate Program that “prepares non-WOC-certified nurses to provide optimal care for patients with acute and chronic wounds” under the direction of a WOCN certified nurse, a WOCN advanced practice nurse and/or a physician.

Cordially,
Nancy

By | 2014-11-10T00:00:00-05:00 November 10th, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

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