What can nurse managers do to help avoid corporate liability?

For what activities can health care organizations be held liable? What can nurse managers do to help avoid corporate liability?


Health care organizations can be held liable for many acts of negligence and omissions, ranging from simple medical mistakes to rape. Nurse managers should understand the laws of their states as they relate to potential corporate liability.

Health care corporations may be held liable for the actions of their employees, either individually or as representatives of the corporation. Such actions include negligence in hiring and supervision; failure to act on credible allegations of employee misconduct; encouraging or creating a work environment that leads to mistreatment of patients; and knowingly failing to report misbehavior. Nurse managers can minimize corporate liability by ensuring they are familiar with findings from investigations of abuse and neglect, monitoring employee performance, training nurses on patient rights and protocols to follow when they witness patient mistreatment, and encouraging nurses to contact management when they have concerns about patient well-being.

Health care organizations can be held liable if they fail to provide information, services and/or equipment that could prevent and/or mitigate injury to the consumer. Because of this potential for liability and increased risk for malpractice suits, nurse managers need to guarantee that consumer rights are being fulfilled and expectation are being met.

Corporate legal liability is a type of legal claim that allows members of a company to file suit against their employer. Corporate legal liability, unlike employee-related claims, doesn’t arise out of actions or decisions made by managers on a day-to-day basis, but rather from decisions made by others in the corporate hierarchy and the enforcement of inappropriate practices like harassment, discrimination and fraud. Because they are employees and not shareholders, nurses have limited ability to seek damages from a corporation through the court system when it fails to provide appropriate levels of care for patients; however if the organization’s overall negligence has compiled for harm in one way or another, then nurse managers may have grounds for litigation.

Liability risk is a major concern for health care organizations. The Nurse managers are involved in different areas of their organization. They help the organization to comply with legislations and standards, as well as help create systems that support quality care. Managing liability risk is of great importance for each health care organization (Fattah, 2010).

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The health care industry is perhaps the most regulated enterprise in the country, and there are both state and federal laws that govern almost every aspect of its operations, facility structure, and interactions with patients. Varying degrees of freedom also exist at both the local and national levels.

Nurses have been trained to follow a certain set of rules or protocols in order to provide the best care for their patients. However, many times things do not go exactly as planned, and there are nurses that end up being found liable for the medical errors and mistakes they made.

You and your colleagues walk into the physician’s office and you question the care provided by your doctor. Does your group practice have an infection control plan to ensure that every patient is protected from filth in their office? Are all nurses properly licensed? Is there a duty to warn if one of your practitioners has been previously sued for malpractice? In most states the answer to these questions is “Yes”, but even so, many practices fall short on self-inspection programs and legal compliance.

You may have read about all of this in the news or seen it on television, but have you ever wondered what it could mean to you and your practice? There are many state and federal laws that protect individuals from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability. It is important to know what these are and how they affect the working day.

If you’ve been injured while working as a nurse, you may be eligible to receive compensation. This financial award will cover the costs associated with your injuries, such as medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.


For what activities can health care organizations be held liable? What can nurse managers do to help avoid corporate liability?

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