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Bradenton Personal Injury Attorneys > Resources > A Nurse’s Independent Duty to the Patient

A Nurse’s Independent Duty to the Patient

A nurse’s first and most important obligation to the patient is to keep the patient safe at all times. All nurses must ensure that the well-being of each patient is their highest priority.

Unless a particular physician’s order may potentially harm a patient, nurses are expected to follow orders; however, “following orders” may not protect nurses and other non-physicians from liability when they fail to follow the standard of care required. In fact, nurses are trained to evaluate physician orders and consider prescribed treatments or medications that may potentially harm the patient.

 In situations where a nurse has a concern that a physician’s order or prescribed treatment may be harmful or inappropriate for the patient, or where a physician fails to examine the patient or fails to provide appropriate treatment for the patient, nurses are expected to keep the patient safe and either withhold the ordered treatment and/or seek appropriate care and treatment for the patient by implementing the “chain of command” procedure.

State and federal rules and regulations require every hospital and healthcare facility have written protocols with a step-by-step process for implementing a “chain of command” procedure. Nursing failure to implement the “chain of command” procedure to keep the patient safe may be actionable malpractice when the patient suffers harm or is injured.

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