Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession(3)12 Sep 95  PDF Version

   Quick Summary: A nurse’s aide diverted narcotics by being allowed to finish off a small amount of liquid Haldol remaining from the dose which the nurse had poured for a patient and had not administered.

   An LPN working as a charge nurse has the legal duty to supervise nurse’s aides working in a nursing home while the nurse is on duty. Failure to supervise aides in a proper manner resulted in a formal reprimand from the State Board of Nursing and a fine of $1000 levied against the nurse, which was upheld by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.  

   The aide was also accused of verbally and physically harassing an elderly and infirm nursing-home patient, by flicking the patient’s hat and by verbally teasing the patient, in the presence of the charge nurse, which caused the patient to experience agitation.

   The court ruled that the definition of professional nursing practice includes taking responsibility for the supervision of non-professional staff providing basic auxiliary nursing-support services. Stephens vs. Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, 657 A. 2d 71 (Pa. Cmwlth., 1995).


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