Malpractice Liability for Nurses: Are You at Risk?

Despite the fact that nursing malpractice claims are on the rise, nurses often are unaware of practices that may leave them open to such claims. Every nurse should know the risks of malpractice liability and how to avoid them.

Malpractice is also known as professional negligence and stems from failing to follow the standard of care for your practice. This course will discuss where to find the standard of care and how to be sure that your practice meets that standard. It will also discuss the elements of a malpractice claim, that is, those criteria needed for a claim of malpractice.

In addition, some actual malpractice cases will be discussed, along with the lessons to be learned from them. Finally, some important tips on protecting yourself as a practicing nurse will be given. 

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Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  1. Define malpractice in legal terms.
  2. Discuss the four elements needed to justify a malpractice claim.
  3. Give examples of where to find the standard of care for your practice.
  4. Distinguish between actual causation and legal causation.
  5. Discuss the lessons to be learned from actual cases of nursing malpractice.
  6. List ways to protect oneself from malpractice liability claims.


Chapter 1: Malpractice Defined

  • Tort, not criminal law
  • Types of torts
  • Malpractice is professional negligence

Chapter 2: Elements of Malpractice

  • Duty
  • Breach of duty
  • Injury
  • Causation

Chapter 3: Liability of Managers and Supervisors

Chapter 4: Hospital Liability

  • Respondeat superior: Liability for actions of employees
  • Non-delegable duty to ensure the patient safety
  • Independent duties

Chapter 5: Defenses to Malpractice Claims

  • Statute of limitations expired
  • Contributory negligence

Chapter 6: Examples of Malpractice Cases Involving Nurses

  • Darling v. Charleston Community Memorial Hospital
  • Nahid Lahiji v. Providence Little Co of Mary Medical Center-Torrance, John Flynn RN, and Roman Culjat MD

Chapter 7: Protect Yourself

Chapter 8: References

Price: $12.00

Contact Hour: 1

Course Author

Carol Mack

Carol H. Mack is a Registered Nurse and a retired attorney. She practiced oncology nursing for more than 30 years in a variety of settings, including both inpatient and outpatient, medical, surgical, and radiation oncology.

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