Nursing: Criminally Negligent Homicide

Nursing is the very profession that requires ultimate theoretic and practical preparedness to health care provision, outstanding knowledge, and exemplary skills of work coordination, and collaboration with the colleagues (Buppert, 2014). Any omissions in the identified areas may lead to tragic developments. The following paper will address one of such catastrophic cases where lack of proficiency has led to the fatal mistake along with the analysis of the decisions that have led to this outcome.

As I consider the Colorado Board of Nursing case, I have controversial emotions since it is understandable that the three nurses did not want to cause any harm to the infant, and moreover, they wanted to help, demonstrating their professionalism and knowledge. Remarkably, most cases of negligence refer to the situations where nurses failed to pay attention to a patient due to certain reasons, and this violation led to the tragedy (Morton & Fontaine, 2013). In the given case, the nursing professionals worked quite hard to provide the baby with the necessary care. However, the fatal mistake committed by the pharmacy has resulted in the baby’s death. Moreover, the nurses’ intentions were to provide the best practice care to the baby by helping one reduce the pain. To achieve this goal, they considered choosing another medicine administration option. The court needs to consider the nurses’ intentions because they wanted to act in the baby’s best interests (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013; Griffith & Tengnah, 2014).

There are multiple other occupations where negligence may cause the consequences having even greater legal implications. These occupations are the military occupations, positions in police, fire-fighting office, disaster relief work, responsible positions in various engineering projects such as construction work or plant operation work, and more. In all these professions, a fatal mistake may lead to the deaths of tens or hundreds or even thousands of people. There are also cases when the representatives of these professions were charged in courts worldwide and were sentenced to spend hundreds of years in prison because of the deaths of numerous people that their negligence or unprofessional behavior has led to.

In any case, the three nurses violated the sections of the State Nurse Practice Act including the treatment regime, practice of practical nursing, practice of professional nursing, administration of medications, and the supervision of other personnel, and that omission has caused the tragedy (Kleinpell, Hudspeth, Scordo, & Magdic, 2012; Pierce, 2014).

The nursing profession should respond to the frightening new legal threat by striving harder to provide quality care to patients with the optimal outcomes (Griffith & Tengnah, 2014). Professionals should become even more skilled. Professional instructions regulating the mechanism of cooperation should be even more filigree. In overall, the nursing professionals need to do their best to avoid error and not to avoid judgment. The focus of interest should be rightly set on the ultimate care quality and not on the means that would allow escape from legal responsibility.

In conclusion, the tragic case observed in this paper demonstrates the crucial importance of following every single point in the State Nurse Practice Act and other legislating acts regulating nursing profession to avoid the fatal errors causing insurmountable harm to clients. This sad experience suggests the lesson that good intentions are not enough to provide ultimate quality care. Instead, exemplary professionalism is required.


Buppert, C. (2014). Nurse practitioner’s business practice and legal guide. New York, NI: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Burkhardt, M., & Nathaniel, A. (2013). Ethics and issues in contemporary nursing. London: Cengage Learning.

Griffith, R., & Tengnah, C. (2014). Law and professional issues in nursing. New York, NI: Learning Matters.

Kleinpell, R. M., Hudspeth, R., Scordo, K. A., & Magdic, K. (2012). Defining NP scope of practice and associated regulations: Focus on acute care. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 24(1), 11-18.

Morton, P. G., & Fontaine, D. K. (2013). Essentials of critical care nursing. New York, NI: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Pierce, R. (2014). Statutory Solutions for a Common Law Defect: Advancing the Nurse Practitioner-Patient Privilege, 47 J. Marshall L. Rev. 1077 (2014). The John Marshall Law Review, 47(3), 9.

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