Travel RN Nursing Facts: An Apology Helps Patients and Reduces Legal Implications

As you start a career in travel RN nursing, you will undoubtedly find that you have made a few mistakes along the way. It is difficult enough to admit when you’re wrong, but when you have made a mistake with a patient under your care it is even more difficult as well as legal implications.

Since travel RN nursing mistakes can logically lead to medical malpractice lawsuits, 29 states have implemented an “apology legislation.” According to a special report from the Nurses Services Organization and NursingCenter.com, “the movement toward full disclosure—and finding a way to enable clinicians to empathize with patients and apologize for unfortunate outcomes—is gaining momentum.”

What brought about such legislation? According to the report, “In 1999, the Institute of Medicine released To Err is Human, a report showing that between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths result from medical mistakes each year in the U.S.” Thus forcing the medical community and travel RN nurses to more than double their efforts including training and continuing education to promote patient safety and reduce errors.

With the apology legislation, a provider’s expression of sympathy cannot be used against him or her in court. Although there are still a few states, which do not accept the apology statement even when the healthcare provider admits fault.

When you accept a travel RN nursing position, discuss whether the apology legislation is valid in that state in addition to the patient safety procedures to protect you and the facility where you work. Apologizing can deepen your relationship with the patient and family, and safeguard the patient by acknowledging errors, and even reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit. However, it is knowing how to be honest and ethical while avoiding legal implications.

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