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Slander defamation by the spoken word

stating unprivileged (not legally protected) or false words by which a reputation is damaged

Standards of care detailed guidelines describing the minimal nursing care that can reasonably be expected to ensure high quality care in a defined situation (eg

a medical diagnosis or a diagnostic test)


(legal) a written response made by the defendant


an attempt or threat to touch another person unjustifiably


the willful or negligent touching of a person (or the person's clothes or even something the person is carrying), which may or may not cause harm

Breach of duty

a standard of care that is expected in the specific situation but that the nurse did not observe; this is the failure to act as a reasonable, prudent nurse under the circumstances

Burden of proof

the duty of proving an assertion


a fact that must be proven that the harm occurred as a direct result of the nurse's failure to follow the standard of care and the nurse could have (or should have) known that failure to follow the standard of care could result in such harm

Civil action

deals with the relationship between individuals in society

Civil law

the body of law that deals with relationships among private individuals; also known as private law

Common law

the body of principles that evolves from court decisions


(legal) a document filed by the plaintiff


a written or verbal agreement between two or more people to do or not do some lawful act

Contract law

the enforcement of agreements among private individuals or the payment of compensation for failure to fulfill the agreement

Contractual obligations

duty of care established by the presence of an expressed or implied contract

Contractual relationships

vary among practice settings; may be as an independent or employer-employee relationship


the process of determining and maintaining competence in practice; includes licensure, registration, certification, and accreditation


an act committed in violation of public (criminal) law and punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment

Criminal action

deals with disputes between an individual and the society as a whole

Criminal law

deals with actions against the safety and welfare of the public


if malpractice caused the injury, the nurse is held liable for damages that may be compensated


(legal) outcome made by a judge


(legal) a communication that is false, or made with careless disregard for the truth, and results in injury to the reputation of another


(legal) person against whom the plaintiff files a complaint against


transferring to a competent individual the authority to perform a selected nursing task in a selected situation; the transfer of responsibility for the performance of an activity from one person to another while retaining accountability for the outcome


(legal) pretrial activities to gain all the facts of the situation


the nurse must have (or should have had) a relationship with the client that involves providing care and following an acceptable standard of care

Expert witness

one who has special training, experience, or skill in a relevant area and is allowed by the court to offer an opinion on some issue within that area of expertise

Express consent

an oral or written agreement

False imprisonment

the unlawful restraint or detention of another person against his or her wishes


a crime of a serious nature, such as murder, punishable by a term in prison


a link that must exist between the nurse's act and the injury suffered

Gross negligence

involves extreme lack of knowledge, skill, or decision making that the person clearly should have known would put others at risk for harm


the client or plaintiff must demonstrate some type of harm or injury (physical, financial or emotional) as a result of the breach of duty owed the client. The plaintiff will be asked to document physical injury, medical costs, loss of wages, "pain and suffering," and any other damages

Impaired nurse

a nurse whose practice has deteriorated because of chemical abuse

Implied consent

consent that is assumed in an emergency when consent cannot be obtained from the client or a relative

Implied contract

a contract that has not been explicitly agreed to by the parties but that the law nevertheless considers to exist

Informed consent

a client's agreement to accept a course of treatment or a procedure after receiving complete information, including the risks of treatment and facts relating to it, from the physician


see Harm

Interstate compact

an agreement between two or more states

Invasion of privacy

a direct wrong of a personal nature, it injures the feelings of the person and does not take into account the effect of reveled information on the standing of the person in the community


A rule made by humans that regulate social conduct in a formally prescribed and binding manner


the quality or state of being legally responsible for one's obligations and actions and to make financial restitution for wrongful acts


defamation by means of print, writing, or pictures


a legal permits granted to individuals to engage in the practice of a profession and to use a particular title


the action of a lawsuit


the negligent acts of persons engaged in professions or occupations in which highly technical or professional skills are employed

Mandated reporters

a role of the nurse in which he or she identifies and assesses cases of violence against others, and in every case the situation must be reported to the proper authorities


second degree murder


a legal offense usually punishable by a fine or a short-term jail sentence, or both

Mutual recognition model

a new regulatory model developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), which allows for multistate licensure


failure to behave in a reasonable and prudent manner; an unintentional tort


a person claiming infringement of legal rights by one or more persons

Private law

(civil law) the body of law that deals with relationships between private individuals

Public law

refers to the body of law that deals with relationships between individuals and the government and governmental agencies

Res ipsa loquitur

the thing that speaks for itself; a legal doctrine that relates to negligence in which the harm cannot be traced to a specific health care provider or standard but does not normally occur unless there has been a negligent act

Respondeat superior

a legal term meaning "let the master answer"; the employer assumes responsibility for the conduct of the employee and can also be held responsible for malpractice by the employee


a privilege or fundamental power to which an individual is entitled unless it is revoked by law or given up voluntarily


defamation by the spoken word, stating unprivileged (not legally protected) or false words by which a reputation is damaged

Standards of care

detailed guidelines describing the minimal nursing care that can reasonably be expected to ensure high quality care in a defined situation (eg, a medical diagnosis or a diagnostic test)

Statutory law

a law enacted by any legislative body


an organized work stoppage by a group of employees to express a grievance, enforce a demand for changes in condition of employment, or solve a dispute with management


a civil wrong committed against a person or a person's property

Tort law

law that defines and enforces duties and rights among private individuals that are not based on contractual agreements


the period during which all the relevant facts are presented to a jury or judge

Unprofessional conduct

one of the grounds for action against the nurse's license; includes incompetence or gross negligence, conviction of practicing without a license, falsification of client records, and illegally obtaining, using or possessing controlled substances


the outcome made by a jury

Central processing unit

the processor/microprocessor that performs the computer program instructions, located in the box that contains the computer hardware

Compact disc

a thin optical disk that can be read by the laser in a computer's CD-ROM drive

Computer-based patient record (CPR)

the accumulation of large amounts of data that are stored over time


all information about a client, includes nursing health history and physical assessment, physician's history and physical examination, laboratory and diagnostic test results

Digital video disc (DVD)

stores and plays digital information, such as a movie; similar in size to CD-ROM

Distance learning

learning in which people communicate effectively across long distances

Electronic medical records (EMRs)

see computer-based patient records (CPR)


the physical parts of the computer

Hospital information system (HIS)

hospital information systems


a worldwide computer network

Local area network (LAN)

personal computers (PC) linked directly to or nearby PCs and servers by wires or wireless communication devices

Management information systems (MIS)

an expert who combines computer, information, and nursing science, develops policies and procedures that promote effective use of computerized records by nurses and other health care professionals

Nursing informatics

the science of using computer information systems in the practice of nursing


connected to a computer network


at the edge or outward boundary

Personal computer (PC)

individual microcomputer system referred to as a desktop, portable, laptop, notebook, or handheld computer

Random access memory (RAM)

data and instructions stored on chips; RAM storage is temporary and lost when the computer is turned off

Read-only memory (ROM)

program and information stored on chips that cannot be altered by the user


programs that manipulate primarily numbers


technology used to transmit electronic medical data about clients to persons at distant locations

Wide area network (WAN)

computers linked across large distances

World wide web

(www) refers to the complex links among webpages or websites, accessed through "addresses" called universal resource locators (URLs)

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