N108: Transition to the Registered Professional Nurse Role Study Guide
The chart below explains the three sources of laws: Source of Law
Who makes the law? Legislative branch of state or nation Executive or administrative branch of state or nation Judicial branch of state or nation
Common or civil law
Civil Law Several kinds of law are classified under the general heading of civil law. • Torts: A tort is a civil wrong committed by one individual against another or a one individual to a person’s property. Physical harm, psychological harm, harm to livelihood, or harm to reputation is included. A tort may also be a crime. Gross negligence that demonstrates the offender is guilty of complete disregard for another’s life may be tried as both a civil and criminal action, and prosecuted under criminal and civil law. A tort may be intentional, which assumes some measure of intent by the person who did the harm. In this case the outcome was planned, although the person involved may not have believed that the intended outcome would be harmful to the other person. An unintentional tort is a wrong committed against another person or property that was not intended to happen, such as negligence. • Negligence: Negligence is a type of unintentional tort. It is defined as carelessness or the failure to act as a prudent person would ordinarily act under the same circumstances. The four essential characteristics of negligence include the following: o Harm must have occurred to an individual. o Negligent person must have been in a situation where he or she had a duty toward the person harmed. o The person must be found to have failed to fulfill his or her duty; this is called “breach of duty.” o The harm must be shown to have been caused by breach of duty. • Professional negligence: Professional negligence is any misconduct or lack of skill in carrying out professional responsibilities. This includes carelessness or deviation from the accepted standard of practice. Negligence by a professional in the course of nursing practice is malpractice . There are four components required to prove malpractice: o The nurse had a duty to the patient. o The nurse breached or broke the standard of care. o The patient was injured. o The breach was the cause of the patient’s injury. Performing surgery without fully informed consent could be considered negligence. Performing surgery without consent would be considered an intentional tort rather than negligence. Even touching a patient without their consent could be considered battery.