Q How do you determine what is the standard of care?

A To have a successful lawsuit against a nurse, the plaintiff must prove all the elements of negligence. In the last column, we explored the nurse’s duty within the scope of employment and beyond the scope of employment. Once this duty has been established by the plaintiff, he or she must then define what standard of care applies to the factual situation as alleged in the lawsuit.

Nurses are familiar with the term “standard of care” in its nursing definition, which is directly tied to the legal meaning of standard of care. In a legal context, this phrase simply means what standard will be applied to the accused nurse to determine if he or she fulfilled his or her duty to the patient. Several resources assist in determining the applicable standard.

The most important resource in determing standard of...

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