As a nurse, you're constantly under pressure. You're often working long hours, balancing too many patients, and dealing with stress that is sometimes literally life or death. Despite these tremendous pressures, you're still expected to make sure that your patients' charts are filled out accurately and completely. But how big of a deal is it to make a few mistakes? Could you lose your license over a few charting errors?
Charting Keeps Patients and Staff Safe
The primary concern of every hospital is keeping their patients safe and helping them get better, not worse. However, doctors, nurses, and hospital staff members are human and make mistakes—especially after a grueling shift or several overnight rotations in a row.
According to research by Johns Hopkins University, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in this country. Up to 10% of all American deaths each year can be attributed to some sort of medical error, from mistakes in surgery to mistakes in diagnoses to mistakes in medication dosages.
Charting helps prevent mistakes during a patient's treatment, which helps protect the patients, the hospital, and the medical professionals treating the patient. Carefully charting the events that happen to the patient as well as every treatment and medication that the patient receives, keeps everyone on the patient's medical team on the same page.
When Charting Errors Lead to Discipline
It would be impossible to expect every nurse to be perfect and never make a mistake in their charting. Minor errors that can be easily corrected are often not serious enough to warrant discipline by a state nursing board, even though they might be punished by your employer.
More serious problems for nurses happen when a patient has been injured by a charting error. When a patient dies or suffers harm because a medication wasn't listed in their chart or someone forgot to note that a treatment had been performed, then the nurse responsible for charting that information will often be disciplined.
Nurses have to be meticulous in their charting. It is important to remember that no one else will make sure that your charts are accurate—it's up to you to make sure that your actions are accurately reflected in a patient's charts. Never assume that a colleague, like the nurse taking over your patients at the end of your shift, will accurately chart what you tell them.
Get Help Protecting Your Nursing License
If you are being investigated for charting errors by your state's nursing board, it is important to have experienced legal help on your side. Charting errors, even unintentional ones, can be the basis for serious forms of discipline like suspensions and license revocations.
You've studied and worked hard to become a nurse. If you are being investigated for charting errors, don't wait to protect your career. Contact the nationwide team of license defense professionals at the Lento Law Firm by calling 888.535.3686 now.