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July 12, 2018

Elements of Malpractice

There is a need to understand that malpractice is one of the legal issues that face nurse practitioners. Therefore, it is essential to understand the elements of malpractice to avoid legal problems in the future. There are four malpractice elements: the duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation. There is a need to ensure that nurses adopt several measures that prevent them from malpractice claims. These are such as documenting, educating patients, and ensuring that there is consent from patients.

One of the elements of malpractice in nursing is the duty of care. The element of duty of care means that as a nurse, one is obligated to act to eliminates breach of duty to protect the patient (Cypher, 2020). Therefore, if a patient presents themselves to a nurse, they should be treated in a manner that uplifts their health. A good example of a breach of duty of care in nursing is whereby the nurse does not provide a safe environment for the patients, thus getting injured. The patient may claim that the nurse failed to provide a duty of care to them.

The second element of malpractice in nursing is the breach of duty. It is essential to understand that nurses have several duties assigned to them. As a result, they need to ensure that they regularly address their duties to promote their patients’ safety and health. However, in cases where the nurse fails to undertake their specific responsibility, they may breach their duty. An example of a breach of duty in nursing is ensuring that the bed rails are up. This is to prevent patients from falling. However, if the nurse fails to have the bed rails up, and the patient falls and gets injured, the nurse may breach duty.

The third element of malpractice in nursing is that of damages. There is a need to understand that damages refer to the injuries or any financial repercussions that the patient may have incurred (Cypher, 2020). There is a need to understand that in cases of malpractice, patients may experience damages. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that patients claim damages as a remedy. A good example of nursing malpractice damage is when the patient falls from their bed because the rails were not up as required, and they suffer injuries. The patient may need to be compensated for injures acquired, and this is referred to as damages in nursing malpractice.


Brous, E. (2020). The Elements of a Nursing Malpractice Case, Part 3B: Causation. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 120(1), 63-66.

Catalano, L. A., & Werdman, E. (2017). Avoiding legal risks in critical care nursing. Nursing2020 Critical Care, 12(4), 30-35.

Cypher, R. L. (2020). Demystifying the 4 Elements of Negligence. The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing, 34(2), 108-109.

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