Importance of Laws and Regulations in Nursing
Laws and regulations are very crucial in the nursing profession. They safeguard the health interests of the public. They govern the activities of the nurses and ensure that patients get safe and quality healthcare services. Laws and regulations protect the public’s members from healthcare professionals that act in an unethical manner or those that do not qualify to perform particular healthcare delivery processes. The nursing roles have expanded over the years, and it is therefore very important to have laws and regulations that govern such roles (Perry Black, 2014, p. 276). Nurses have greater responsibility and influence on patients’ health and should, therefore, have great knowledge of medical laws and regulations when dealing with the patient. Therefore, the laws and regulations act as a way of improving the care delivery that members of the public receive.
The Nursing Practice Act (NPA)
The NPA defines and controls the practice of nursing in the country. The NPA contains all the laws and regulations that should be out in place to ensure the safety of the patients and the public’s welfare. NPA ensures that patients receive safe and quality care by regulating the activities of nursing professionals. Every state in the U.S. has their nursing practice act that applies to all the registered nurses within their jurisdiction. The NPA might have different provisions, but they all serve a similar purpose (Perry Black, 2014, p. 280). The act sets the minimum educational level or qualifications that nurses must have to be licensed practitioners within the state. It also defines the practice of nursing and the professional scope of the practice. The NPA in a state also provides disciplinary action to any nursing community member who fails to follow set laws and regulation, nationally or within the state.
Role of State Boards of Nursing
The state boards of nursing (SBN) are often defined in the nurse practice act. The act also defines the responsibilities and the levels of authority the SBN has. The SBN is tasked with evaluating the nursing practice and regulating it. It is responsible for communicating the laws and standards to be employed in the nursing practice within the state. The SBN is also responsible for the nurses’ licensure for those that qualify to practice nursing within the state. The SBN members from different states form the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), which is responsible for examining potential nursing professionals in the country. The executive branch of the SBN administers nursing laws and enforces them in the profession. The NCSBN comprises different nurses with different qualifications, i.e., Registered nurses (RN) and licensed practical or vocational nurses (LPN) (Perry Black, 2014, p. 282).
According to the case study provided, the nurse is liable for her actions, which cause the patient to fall from the bed and possibly worsen their health condition. The nurse is liable for malpractice, which is associated with negligence portrayed in the case. Negligence is when the nurse fails to act rationally just as another nurse would act if faced with a similar situation (Perry Black, 2014, p. 288). The nurse fails to put up the rails after the patient gets on the bed, therefore neglecting her care duties. The nurse commits an offense of omission and is therefore liable for such actions.
The case’s liability can only be determined by a fellow nurse and not by any other professional from a different discipline. The rationale is that the nurse would have an idea of
how they would have acted in such a situation and, therefore, the possibility of a more informed decision on the way forward. The legal liability arises when the nurse has the required or specialized knowledge of the issue and if the nurse causes the patient injury due to negligence. The elements have to be proved before the nurse can become legally liable for malpractice (Perry Black, 2014, p. 290).