Did you know that a clinical nurse educator may be found liable for providing inadequate supervision of a student? Or, for failing to meet standards of care followed by peers in similar situations? Did you know an educator could be held liable if a patient becomes injured by a student and the injury was foreseeable? These are just a few of the legal issues that face clinical nurse educators daily.
Typically, when legal action is taken against a clinical nurse educator it’s done under tort law; civil law that handles wrongs committed by one individual against another. Negligence toward the patient is the most common tort law action taken against nurses. Negligence occurs when a patient is harmed as a result of a nurse’s failure to do what a reasonable nurse would do in the same situation. Legal action can also be taken against a clinical nurse educator for harm caused by a student. Three key components must exist for legal action to be taken against a clinical nurse educator for patient harm caused by a student, they include:
To protect against liability, the clinical nurse educator should:
Many legal issues exist for the clinical nurse educator, but practicing according to standard greatly reduces the legal risks. Maintain focus on patient and student safety; it’s the key to avoiding legal pitfalls.
What legal challenges have clinical nurse educators faced in your facility? What’s been learned from the situations? What advice would you give to other clinical nurse educators?