MN 506 Purdue Application of Standards of Care Case Scenario

Topic: Application of Standards of Care

For the case scenario, discuss the standard(s) of care that the parties will be held to in this case. How will the standards of care and the Nurse Practice Act for your state be applied in a court of law if the case is sued?

Case Scenario

SK, age 61, was admitted to the hospital. Because of understaffing of nurses in the hospital, her assigned RN did not assess her often enough and did not monitor her oxygen level.

SK went to the hospital with what she thought was a bad cold, and was admitted with a diagnosis of pneumonia. Following admission, she became increasingly feverish and short of breath, but her family’s calls for help went unanswered. In fact, her daughter was unable to find anyone when she went to the nurses’ station looking for help. The patient eventually stopped breathing, and someone finally responded to the family’s desperate and frantic calls for help. SK was successfully resuscitated, but sustained brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. She was left unable to walk, talk, or care for herself.

There were 41 other patients on this unit. Although the hospital’s own staffing standards called for 5 registered nurses and 2 licensed practical nurses to staff this unit, only 3 registered nurses were on duty. Records for the unit in question indicated that the hospital failed to meet its own staffing standards for 51 out of 59 days before this incident.

Expert Solution Preview


In this case scenario, we will be discussing the standard of care that the parties involved will be held to and how the Nurse Practice Act for the state will be applied in court if the case is sued. The scenario involves a patient who sustained brain damage due to oxygen deprivation while admitted to the hospital. The patient’s family claims that the nurse did not assess the patient often enough and did not monitor her oxygen level, which resulted in the patient’s condition worsening. Let’s discuss the standards of care and how they relate to this case.


The standard of care that the parties involved in this case will be held to is the reasonable care standard. The reasonable care standard requires healthcare providers to use the degree of care, skill, and diligence that a reasonably competent provider would use in a similar situation. In this case, the nurse assigned to SK should have assessed her often enough and monitored her oxygen level to prevent her condition from worsening. Failing to provide such care would be a breach of the reasonable care standard.

The Nurse Practice Act for the state in question will be applied in court if the case is sued to determine if the nurse violated any of the regulations outlined in the act. The act outlines the scope of practice, standards of care, and ethical principles that nurses must abide by. In this case, the nurse’s duty was to assess SK often enough and monitor her oxygen level, which falls within the scope of practice outlined in the act. If it is determined that the nurse failed to meet the standard of care required by the act, then legal action may be taken against the nurse, and she may face disciplinary action from the state’s nursing board.

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