Forensic Nursing in the ER: The importance of accurate and timely charting


Working as a nurse in the emergency department, patient care comes first. On occasion, the influx of patients is greater than the amount of manpower. Even though nurses try to keep up with charting, on occasion there is reason that charting may not be done as thoroughly or as expeditiously as needed.

A key point expressed by Tsushima & Nakano (1998) is the chart like you will never see the chart again before it goes to court. So many times a nurse can be focused on taking care of the patient that charting may not be as thorough as it needs to be. It is detrimental for the nurse to leave out key times and notations when documenting. It is critical for the nurse to chart to the best of his/her ability. Additions to a record after the fact raises suspicion.

Tsushima, W. T. & Nakano, K. K. (1998). Effective medical testifying: A handbook for physicians. Butterworth-Heinemenn: Woburn, MA.

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