Nurses are a critical component of our healthcare system. They are physicians’ eyes and ears. They conduct frequent assessments and provide necessary care to patients.
Nurses provide much of the day-to-day care for hospital patients, long-term care facility residents, home care recipients and visitors to other medical offices. Nurses hold great responsibility across the health care sector and their errors can cause serious harm to patients, permanent disability and even death. If a nurse breaches standards of care due to negligence and a patient suffers an injury as a result, it’s called medical malpractice. And, the nurse may be liable for damages.
If a nurse has been negligent in your care, or the care of a family member, you have every right to seek justice for the harm they have caused. Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers have the knowledge, experience and skill to help you make a claim for compensation for damages caused by a nursing error.
Types of nurses in Ontario.
There are three types of nursing positions in Ontario: Registered Nurses (RNs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs).
New RNs must have a baccalaureate degree from a collaborative college-university nursing program or a four-year university nursing program. With this comprehensive education, RNs are able to offer care for patients with more complex needs in unpredictable situations. NPs are RNs with advanced university education who specialize in primary health care, adult and pediatric care and anaesthesia. RPNs must earn a two-year diploma in Practical Nursing in a college program. RPNs tend to work with patients with less complex needs or with stable and predictable conditions.
Standards of practice for nurses.
Nurses are trained professionals. They are expected to provide care at a level similar to the care provided by other nursing professionals in similar situations, with similar training. Each type of nurse is trained to perform tasks at varying levels of patient care. In addition to providing care within their training and experience, all nurses must follow standards of practice produced by the College of Nurses of Ontario and institutions in which they serve.
Nurses serve many important functions. They are responsible for providing day to day care, monitoring and tracking patients’ conditions, advocating for patients, administering medications and other treatments, and finally, responding to and altering allied care providers to changes in the patient’s condition. Importantly, nurses are expected to understand the patient population they are treating. They must know what changes in a patient condition mean so that they are able to respond and escalate care appropriately.
Common nursing errors.
There are many types of errors a nurse can make during their shift; however, several errors tend to happen more frequently and often lead to more severe outcomes for patients.
medication errors - if a nurse improperly administers medication to a patient, serious adverse events are possible. Common medication errors include the wrong dose, wrong patient, wrong medication, wrong site of delivery, and/or wrong time to medicate.
fall prevention - older people or patients with certain conditions such as vertigo or neurological impairments are at a greater risk for falls, but any patient could suffer from a preventable fall if their needs are not met and they attempt to get out of a hospital bed when otherwise unable. If a nurse fails to make timely rounds, fails to understand and assess a patient’s mobility, or fails to understand the effects of certain medications, they may cause or contribute to a preventable injury from a fall.
documentation errors - if a nurse is keeping inadequate documentation of a patient’s condition and interventions or treatments (for example, administering medications), they may cause or contribute to another practitioner making an error when providing care, prevent a patient from receiving necessary changes in treatment, or record incorrect information which could affect a patient’s care.
Failing to report changes in patient condition - as mentioned above this piece of nursing care is critical. Nurses must monitor their patients appropriately but they must also know when to get other health professionals involved. This is particularly true when a patient’s condition changes.
Failure to monitor - frequency and adequacy of monitoring are important. Nurses play a key role in ‘early warning systems’. Appropriate monitoring can often catch complications or changes in a patient’s condition.
Obstetrical errors - nurses are often key people in providing obstetrical care. They monitor mother and baby throughout most of the active phase of labour. Failures in frequency of monitoring or with interpretation of the fetal heart monitoring strip can lead to devastating consequences.
Discovering a nursing error.
Some nursing errors will be obvious immediately, others may not be evident for hours or days. If you or a loved one has experienced an adverse outcome following medical care, especially if the prognosis was good, it is advisable to investigate whether its cause was something that could have and should have been avoided. You can begin this process by contacting a personal injury lawyer with experience in nursing error cases. At Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers, we draw on our expansive in house experience and network of medical experts to carefully review a patient’s records for any indication that a breach in the standard of care occurred.
Identifying a breach is only one part of a nursing error medical malpractice case. In addition, a plaintiff must establish that the breach of the nurse directly caused or contributed to harming the patient. The harm must have caused damages to the patient beyond what they would have suffered due to their normal course of illness or injury.
Nursing error medical malpractice cases are rarely straight-forward and are often quite complex. Choosing the right legal representative and advocate to assist you in making a claim and advancing your interests in a case is one of the most consequential decisions a victim of a nursing error can make.
We’re here to help.
Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers have helped people just like you as they took steps to rebuild their lives following a devastating event. As one of the country’s top ranked personal injury firms, we are respected by our peers and we have earned a reputation among our clients for getting results as we take on even the most difficult and complex files.
When you contact our office for a no cost, no obligation initial consultation, you can be confident you will be received with empathetic, compassionate and attentive care. After you explain what has happened, we will take all the time you need to inform you of your rights, discuss your options, and help in any way we can.
If your case is actionable and we believe our lawyers can successfully negotiate a fair settlement for you or win a court-ordered award, we will offer to represent you in your legal proceedings. Our confidence in our ability to build strong and persuasive cases means we will never ask for payment for legal services unless we are successful in accessing funds that compensate you for injury.
There are many personal injury lawyers you can choose to work with on your case. But as our past clients will tell you, Gluckstein’s commitment to providing full-circle care sets us apart. We treat our clients as we would treat our own family, and that means caring about your well-being beyond the time we are actively working on your case.
When you entrust your case to us, our renowned client liaisons will be available to help you understand the process and to connect you with resources that may help your recovery. Some of these liaisons have experienced their own personal injuries and are uniquely able to understand what you may be thinking and empathize with what you may be feeling. Knowing that you have a trusted and effective team supporting you can make all the difference as you take steps to build back your best life after a terrible event.
If you or a loved one believes you may have suffered serious harm from a nursing error, trust Gluckstein Personal Injury lawyers to be your tireless advocates. Together, we can work to get what you need and deserve to move confidently into the future.
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