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Resolve to learn more about the law in 2016

With a new year on the horizon, here’s a list of resolutions that can be useful for nurses to learn more about the law and its incorporation into their lives and practices.

Nurses can work toward the following goals in 2016:

• Attend a CE course in person or online that furthers knowledge of the law unique to your area of nursing practice.

• Identify and attend to your own personal legal concerns. Make sure to prepare an estate plan and evaluate your professional liability insurance for inclusion of your practice. Be sure to assess its coverage amounts, determining if your home and automobile insurance provide you with adequate coverage if a loss occurs.

• Vow to continue to provide quality, non-negligent care to your patients.

• Consider seeking additional degrees and/or credentialing in your area of nursing practice.

• Attend a board of nursing meeting in your state to see how the board operates and to meet its members.

• Consider applying for an open board position when one occurs.

• Become active in a professional association of your choice, either through membership, joining a committee or running for an office.

• Review current and proposed state laws that affect nursing and nursing practice and become active in the legislative process to make necessary changes in both.

• Read a book or see a movie about how the law is portrayed as affecting one’s everyday life.

• Increase awareness of your rights as an employee in your work setting.

• Continue to advocate for your patients.

• Vow to meet or increase nursing’s rating as No. 1 in Gallup’s Honesty and Ethics Poll for professions. The 2015 poll showed 85% of Americans consider nurses to have high or very high honesty and ethical standards.

• Advocate for the continuation of the U.S. system of laws because despite its need for improvement. It is the best system in this troubled world.

I wish you and yours a peaceful, healthy and prosperous 2016. Thanks for reading!

Editor’s note: Nancy Brent’s posts are designed for educational purposes and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice.

By | 2015-12-28T16:37:07-05:00 December 30th, 2015|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs|3 Comments

About the Author:

Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN
Our legal information columnist Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN, received her Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and concentrates her solo law practice in health law and legal representation, consultation and education for healthcare professionals, school of nursing faculty and healthcare delivery facilities. Brent has conducted many seminars on legal issues in nursing and healthcare delivery across the country and has published extensively in the area of law and nursing practice. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her role of legal information columnist. Her posts are designed for educational purposes only and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice. Individuals who need advice on a specific incident or work situation should contact a nurse attorney or attorney in their state. Visit The American Association of Nurse Attorneys website to search its attorney referral database by state.


  1. Avatar
    Catherine Dixon December 31, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    I would love to attend seminars, conferences on legal issues, however I am unable to find them in New York State. I did attend a nursing conference about 6 months ago. There was a lawyer who spoke for 45 minutes. He gave us an overview of the judicial system and answered questions. He was informative but I left wanting more. Can you direct me?

    Catherine Dixon, RN

  2. Avatar
    Jean Pulinka RN CLNC January 11, 2016 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I completed Vickie Milazzo’s course and have national certification in Legal Nurse Consulting. This is how I have propelled myself into the world . Combining the ability to navigate medical information with that of legal. So I highly suggest that nursing professionals empower themselves with the legal aspect of life.

  3. Avatar
    Sarah RN January 29, 2016 at 2:08 am - Reply

    I find your visit very helpful! With my mother being a paralegal, I have always had an interest in law and health policy. During my undergraduate degree, I look a health policy class that focused on the international aspect. Having learning how other countries have more advances in health care coverage and autonomy for nurses, I became very interested in my own autonomy. Being from MA, I learned how FNP can not practice on their own. During my undergrad, we were told that you must have a contract with a MD about your standards of care and regulations in order to practice and keep your license. I was shocked. Today I am going for my MSN and FNP at UNH. After much research about surrounding states, I found how in NH, FNPs have more autonomy and ability to practice. As I go through my nursing profession, I will continue to have an eye out for legal issues that may affect by standards to practice and provide high quality care.

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