Nurses and other medical professionals have a responsibility to their patients, but they also need to remain cognizant of their own health — namely, their legal health. Professional licensure comes along with special risks that nurses should be prepared to manage. Taking the time to review your legal rights and responsibilities in the new year can help protect you and prepare you for disciplinary action defense.

So, what should you be doing to ensure your legal health? Experts in the field recommend joining a professional organization to help you remain current in the field. This can include attending conferences, reading journals and obtaining continuing education through your employer and other sources.

Maintaining a strong set of records and documentation is also an important measure in today’s nursing world. Best practices in the medical profession indicate that proper documentation is key to protecting yourself during disciplinary action defense. Furthermore, nurses should be careful to avoid practicing outside of their defined scope of practice, which means you should refuse to treat patients for which you are not competent to provide care.

In addition to these precautions, experts recommend obtaining your own professional liability insurance policy. Having an attorney to represent you in a professional negligence suit can be a significant benefit, giving you the peace of mind you need to maintain your professional licensure. These professionals can help you through a disciplinary action defense, as well, if you are accused of violating your nurse practice act.

Keeping yourself healthy in all spheres is key to remaining successful as a nurse in today’s changing world. Taking the extra time to prepare yourself for legal health can make the difference in your likelihood of success during a disciplinary action defense.

Source:, “Get legally healthy in 2017,” Nancy J. Brent, Feb. 07, 2017