Nursing Malpractice: Liability and Risk Management

By Charles C. Sharpe | Go to book overview

16

Roles of the Professional Nurse
in the Legal Process

NURSES' ROLES IN THE LEGAL PROCESS
In the course of his or her nursing career, a nurse may find him- or herself on one side of the law as defendant, on another side as plaintiff, or amidst the law—between either side as a nurse attorney, a testifying expert (TE), or as a consulting expert (CE). These last two roles represent relatively new, emerging, and very rewarding alternative careers for the professional nurse. In these expanded roles, the nurse is not confined to cases of malpractice only, but can become involved in other forms of personal injury, toxic torts and environmental issues, product liability, workers' compensation; and even criminal actions as a forensic witness in such cases as rape or child and elder abuse. Opportunities for nurses are limited only by their knowledge, their creativity, and their initiative in persuading the legal community of their valuable contributions and cost saving effectiveness.
WHY NURSES ELECT TO FUNCTION IN THESE ROLES
A nurse may be motivated to undertake these roles for several reasons.
or she can enhance the image and status of nursing by presenting nurses in a legitimate role in the legal arena

-173-

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