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Application of Standards of Care

Application of Standards of Care

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Application of Standards of Care


Discuss the standard(s) of care to which the parties will be held in this Application of Standards of Care case scenario. How will the standards of care and your state’s Nurse Practice Act be applied in the courts if the case is sued?

Application of Standards of Care; Case Scenario

SK, age 61, went to the hospital with what she thought was a bad cold, and was admitted with a diagnosis of pneumonia. Following admission, she became increasingly feverish and short of breath, but her family’s calls for help went unanswered. In fact, her daughter was unable to find anyone when she went to the nurses’ station looking for help. The patient eventually stopped breathing, and someone finally responded to the family’s desperate and frantic calls for help. SK was successfully resuscitated, but sustained brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. She was left unable to walk, talk, or care for herself.

Because of nurse understaffing in the hospital, her assigned RN had not assessed her often enough and did not monitor her oxygen level. There were 41 other patients on this unit. Although the hospital’s own staffing standards called for five registered nurses and two licensed practical nurses to staff this unit, only three registered nurses were on duty. Records for the unit in question indicated that the hospital failed to meet its own staffing standards for 51 out of 59 days before this incident.

Instructions: This is a discussion post. 1 page to 1 1/2 page of content is enough. must use at least 3 references, no less than that. APA format.


Title: Standards of Care and Application of Nurse Practice Act in a Lawsuit


In the case study provided, SK, a patient with pneumonia who was brought to the hospital, had severe deterioration of health due to nurse understaffing and subsequent failure to provide proper care. This discussion will examine the care standards for which the parties would be held responsible, how the state’s nurse practice acts, and how these standards could be used in a future lawsuit.

The standards of care specify the degree of skill and diligence required of healthcare workers when providing patient care. Professional and legal requirements obligate nurses to uphold these standards. In this instance, the fundamental measure of care entails doing routine examinations, keeping an eye on vital signs, quickly attending to patient needs, and ensuring patient safety.


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The Nurse Practise Act is a legislative framework that controls nursing practise in a particular state. It describes the parameters of nursing practice, prerequisites for obtaining a license, and obligations as a practicing nurse. In this case, the Nurse Practise Act will guide the court’s assessment of the nurse’s activities and determine whether any violations were placed.

Application of Nurse Practise Act and Standards of Care in Courts:

The following elements are likely to be taken into account by the courts when assessing how the Nurse Practise Act and standards of care are applied:

Breach of Duty 

The court will decide if the nurse violated their obligations by failing to give the patient proper care and follow the norms anticipated in a similar circumstance. This nurse may have broken her professional obligations by failing to examine SK periodically, keep track of her oxygen levels, and respond to the family’s cries for assistance.

The court will determine whether the nurse’s actions or inactions directly led to the patient’s injuries. A causal relationship could be established between the patient’s condition’s worsening and the delayed response, which led to brain damage from a lack of oxygen.

Nurse Staffing and Hospital Rules

The court may examine the hospital’s staffing rules to determine if they adhere to their standards. The fact that the hospital frequently fell short of its staffing requirements raises the possibility of a structural problem that complicated the nurse’s inability to deliver quality treatment.

Expert Testimony

Expert witnesses, such as nurses, may be asked to assess the standard of care that would apply in this situation. Their testimony can assist the court in determining whether the nurse’s conduct was inconsistent with what a sensible nurse would have done in the same case.


In this instance, the nurse’s failure to deliver sufficient care because of a staffing shortage can be viewed as a duty violation. In assessing the nurse’s activities, the court will consider the state’s Nurse Practice Act’s rules and the standards of care. The hospital’s inability to follow its staffing guidelines may also impact liability. The court will also benefit from expert testimony in its knowledge of the expected quality of care. Ultimately, the court’s goal will be to ascertain if the nurse’s actions or inactions harmed the patient and, based on these findings, determine the most appropriate legal remedies.


C. Buppert (2018). The standard of care and nurse practice laws. 29(2), 29–31, Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting.

K. Carter (2016). Identifying the components of responsibility for irresponsible acts in nursing malpractice. Legal Nurse Consulting Journal, 27(3), 3–9.

(2015) American Nurses Association. The third edition of Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. Author: Silver Spring, MD.

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