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What Should be in a Nursing Negligence Expert Report?

When you are in need of a nursing negligence report, what should be in it?

The specialized knowledge of nursing is generally accepted to be out of the scope of practice of other professionals, such as physicians and administrators, and should be given by a nurse experienced in the area of concern.

The report should include a description of the nurse and why is he/she is to give an expert opinion about nursing standards. Then the nurse should list what material was reviewed to develop and formulate the opinions to be rendered. Next should be a summary of the facts, focusing attention of the specific facts about whether the care provided was appropriate or not, that support his or her position or opinion.

Included in the report should be an explanation of the fact that the defendant owed a duty to the patient, whether the duty was breached or not, and if the breach did in fact cause any harm with a identifiable injury. The duty owed, in the case of nursing care, is based on the applicable standard of care.

The most common breaches in the standards of care in nursing are:

  • Failure to follow standards of care
  • Failure to use equipment responsibly
  • Failure to document
  • Failure to assess and monitor patient
  • Failure to communicate

Finally the expert nurse should give a brief description of the opinion, beginning with a statement such as, “Based on my education, training ,experience and the materials that I reviewed, it is my option that (name of person or facility) satisfied/failed to satisfy the standard of care in the treatment of (plaintiff).”

I hope this is of assistance to attorneys and to nurses who are preparing expert reports about possible nursing negligence.