Ask a Lawyer


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Accessing own personal health information

Can I access my own personal health information through my employer’s electronic health records system? Can I access the personal health information of my family members through my employer’s electronic health records system if they ask me to? Answer


Complementary therapies

My patient has asked me to administer a complementary therapy in the form of a liquid herbal substance, which I do not know much about. What are my legal obligations? Am I able to refuse? Answer


Delegation and assignment

I am the charge nurse at a medical inpatient unit of a hospital. I work with registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) but now the hospital has announced there will be a health-care aide (HCA) on our unit. She will be replacing one of the LPNs. As the charge nurse, I will have to supervise the HCA and ensure she has an appropriate patient assignment. The HCA is not a regulated health professional. It makes me wonder what the difference is between delegation and assignment. Answer

 

Documentation: late entries

Do late entries hold the same weight in court as multiple small timely entries? Do entries made at the end of a busy shift constitute late entries? Answer

 

Electronic medical records and independent practice

I have an independent foot-care practice and have been using paper charting but am considering starting to chart in a Word document on my laptop. Is this appropriate? Answer

 

Good Samaritan

I drove by a motorcycle accident on the way to work and, as an experienced emergency room nurse, I stopped to assist the injured driver until paramedics arrived on scene. Was I legally obligated to stop and assist, and will I be liable for the care I delivered if the person does not fully recover? Answer

 

Independent practice considerations

I would like to start my own business to provide foot-care services. I have taken a relevant foot care training course, but I’m curious to know if there are any other issues I must consider before launching my foot care business? Answer

 

Mature minor

I am a nurse practitioner and my patient Jane is a 15-year old female who requires IV antibiotics for a foot infection. Jane lives away from home, attends school and is otherwise in good health. Is she capable of consenting to treatment, or must I obtain parental consent? Answer

 

Notifying police of stab wounds

I am an ER nurse in a large Calgary hospital.  A young man recently came into the ER with stab wounds to his left arm.  He alleges that he has no knowledge of who the assailant was and does not want me to call the police.  The nature of the wounds and his behaviour lead me to suspect that the wounds may be self-inflicted.  Should I call the police? Answer

 

Nurse practitioner billing

I am a nurse practitioner (NP) and am considering accepting a position working in a medical clinic. The contract for my services specifies that I will be compensated based on my billing to the public health insurance plan. I am aware that physicians are authorized to directly bill public health insurance plans, but is it permissible for NPs to do so? Answer

 

Parent’s request for minor’s health records

I am a nurse who is employed at a primary care clinic. I have recently become aware that the parents of a 10-year-old patient have divorced. The father is now requesting a copy of the child’s health records. Is he entitled to receive a copy of the records? What should I do? Answer


 
Proof of professional liability protection

My employer has requested that I provide proof of my professional liability protection (or insurance). I am eligible for CNPS services. What documentation can I produce to demonstrate that I have professional liability protection in place? Answer

 

Providing an expert opinion

As a practising nurse, I have been asked to provide an expert opinion in a negligence case against a hospital, a nurse and two physicians. I have never been an expert witness before. What do I need to know before I accept the retainer? Answer

 

Social media

A nurse working in primary care receives a “friend” request on her Facebook site from someone with a familiar-sounding name. The picture accompanying the request is of a lakeside sunset, so she cannot tell who sent the request. Because the name sounds familiar, she accepts the request. After going through the requestor’s profile, she realizes the “friend” is a patient. The next day, she receives a message from the patient commenting on photos the nurse had posted of her and her friends drinking margaritas on the beach in Mexico. What should she do? Answer


Texting updates to other health professionals

Lately, I have been using my personal smartphone to text updates to physicians regarding patients. Is this practice acceptable? Answer


Volunteer work

Am I protected if I do volunteer nursing work? Answer

 

Working with unregulated care providers

What are the liability risks for nurses when working with unregulated care providers in collaborative care teams? Answer

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Upcoming Webinars & Events

Upcoming webinars image

 

August 16, 2017 - Social Media and Technology (Replay with Live Q&A)

 

September 13, 2017 - L’infirmière, la documentation et le droit (French-language webinar)

 

September 14, 2017 - Legal Risks for New Grads

 

October 11, 2017 - Public Health and Community Nursing and the Law

 

November 8, 2017 - RN Prescribing and Risk Management

 

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