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Glossary

  1. Basic Life Support (BLS): Basic Life Support is a level of medical care that is used for victims of life-threatening illnesses or injuries until they can be given full medical care at a hospital. BLS includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other techniques to maintain circulation and breathing.

  2. Nursing Practice Act (NPA): The Nursing Practice Act is a set of laws in each U.S. state that govern the practice of nursing. These laws define the scope of nursing practice, establish educational and licensing requirements, and set out disciplinary measures for violations.

  3. Standard of Care: The standard of care refers to the degree of care or competence expected of a healthcare professional in particular circumstances or roles. It is the benchmark against which a healthcare provider's actions are measured in legal cases involving negligence or malpractice.

  4. Mock Codes: Mock codes are simulated medical emergency drills, often conducted in healthcare settings to train staff in the response to real-life cardiac arrests or other critical situations. They help improve the skills and teamwork necessary for effective resuscitation and patient care.

  5. Legislation: Legislation refers to the laws and regulations enacted by a government body. In the context of healthcare, legislation can include laws related to healthcare delivery, patient rights, professional licensure, and public health.

  6. Medical Screening Exams (MSEs): Medical Screening Exams are assessments performed to determine if an individual has an emergency medical condition. Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) in the U.S., hospitals are required to provide MSEs to anyone who seeks emergency care.

  7. Deposition: A deposition is a witness's sworn out-of-court testimony. It is used to gather information as part of the discovery process in legal proceedings. The testimony is recorded for later use in court if necessary.

  8. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO): Now known simply as The Joint Commission, it is an independent, non-profit organization that accredits and certifies healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. Accreditation from The Joint Commission is recognized as a symbol of quality and commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

  9. Malpractice: Malpractice refers to improper, illegal, or negligent professional behavior that causes harm to another person. In healthcare, it usually refers to a medical professional's failure to provide the standard of care, resulting in patient injury or death.

  10. Failure to Respond/Act: This term refers to the lack of appropriate action or intervention by a healthcare provider in a timely manner when a patient's condition requires it, potentially leading to harm.

  11. EHR (Electronic Health Record): An Electronic Health Record is a digital version of a patient's paper chart. EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. They contain medical histories, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory test results.

  12. Negligence: Negligence in healthcare is the failure to provide the standard of care that a reasonably prudent healthcare professional would provide in similar circumstances. It can result in harm or injury to patients and is a key element in malpractice cases.

  13. Duty: Duty in healthcare refers to the legal or ethical obligation of healthcare professionals to provide care to patients. It is the first element that must be established in a negligence lawsuit, proving that the healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient.

  14. Scope: The scope of practice defines the procedures, actions, and processes that a healthcare practitioner is permitted to undertake in accordance with the terms of their professional license. This varies by profession, jurisdiction, and level of training.

  15. American Nurses Association (ANA): The American Nurses Association is a professional organization that represents the interests of the nation's 4 million registered nurses. It advances the nursing profession by promoting high standards of nursing practice, fostering an ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues.

  16. Board of Nursing: A Board of Nursing is a regulatory body that oversees the practice of nursing within a specific jurisdiction (usually a state or territory). It ensures that nurses meet the requirements for licensure and adhere to standards of practice and professional conduct.

  17. Disposition: In the healthcare context, disposition refers to the outcome or status of a patient at the end of a healthcare encounter, including the plan for the patient’s next steps, such as discharge, admission to another facility, or follow-up care.

  18. Diversion: The unauthorized rerouting or misappropriation of medications, especially controlled substances, from their intended medical purpose. Diversion is a serious violation of legal and ethical standards in healthcare, leading to potential patient harm, legal consequences, and professional disciplinary actions.

  19. Illicit Use: Taking the medication for personal use to achieve recreational effects or to self-medicate for pain or other conditions.  The illegal distribution or misuse of prescription drugs within healthcare settings.

  20. Distribution: Selling or giving the medication to others for non-medical use.

  21. Substitution: Replacing the medication with another substance, often to cover up the diversion, which can result in patient harm.

  22. Second-Degree Assault: Legal charge for causing intentional harm.  For example: Charges involving intentional harm to patients through improper drug administration.

  23. Substance Use Disorder (SUD): A condition characterized by the harmful use of substances, including prescription drugs, leading to clinical and functional impairment.

  24. Peer Assistance Programs: Support systems for healthcare professionals dealing with substance use or mental health issues independent of the regulatory agency.

  25. Regulatory Oversight: The role of regulatory bodies like boards of nursing, boards of pharmacy, and the DEA in monitoring and enforcing legal and ethical standards in healthcare.

  26. Risk Management Team and Covert Monitoring: Hospital measures to investigate and prevent drug diversion and other unethical practices.

  27. Professional Liability Insurance (PLI): Insurance that provides financial protection for nurses against legal claims related to their professional practice.

  28. Fitness to Practice: Assessment of a nurse's capability to safely perform their duties.

  29. Administrative Leave: Temporary removal from duties during an investigation.

  30. Civil Litigation: Legal proceedings to resolve disputes and seek damages.

  31. Criminal Indictment: Formal charge of a serious crime.

  32. Medication Administration Protocols: Guidelines for safe drug administration.

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