As CNAs, we don’t often think about ourselves having any legal problems after CNA training. Like any medical professional, however, CNAs are held responsible for their actions by the law and if they are liable for disobeying any law passed by their local, state, or the federal government, they will be prosecuted. Legal prosecution can result in a number of punishments if the CNA is found guilty after CNA training, including imprisonment, fines, and the loss of his or her CNA training license.
After CNA training, it is essential to follow the law. You can do this by:
- Understanding your scope of practice and staying within it
- Only performing skills and duties you have been trained to do
- Carrying out tasks as you were taught to do them
- Seeking the advice of a superior when faced with a questionable situation
- Not harming your patients
- Respecting your patients and their personal property
- Knowing the policies of your medical facility and following them
Types of Legal Issues After CNA Training
So, as a CNA, what types of legal issues might you face after CNA training? Here are just a few.
- Negligence- This means failing to provide patients with the reasonable amount of care they deserve.
- Theft- Taking anything, even if that item is small or inexpensive, is considered theft.
- Defamation- This refers to making statements about a patient after CNA training, either in writing or verbally, that would injure that person’s character.
- False Imprisonment- There are times after CNA training when restraints must be used on a patient to keep them from harming themselves or others. If the proper authorization isn’t given for these restraints, it is known as false imprisonment.
- Physical Restraints- Any equipment, material, manual, or automatic device that is attached to or near the body of a patient is considered a physical restraint. These are only used under a doctor’s orders.
- Assault and Battery- If you purposefully threaten or attempt to touch a patient without their permission, it is known as assault. Battery occurs when you actually do touch a patient inappropriately.
- Abuse- As CNAs, it is our job to care for patients, not hurt them. Abuse isn’t an accident; it is causing intentional harm to a patient after CNA training. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual. Involuntary seclusion is also a form of abuse.
- Neglect- When you fail to provide basic care to a patient, it is known as neglect. Neglect often results in mental anguish and physical harm to the patient.
- Invasion of Privacy- During CNA training, we are taught about HIPAA. We know our patients have a right to their privacy and we are taught to never share their information with others. When we do, it is known as invasion of privacy.
Legal Actions After CNA Training
After CNA training, it is our duty as caregivers to not only avoid these legal issues, but prevent them from happening in the first place. This means knowing our job and making sure our fellow CNAs know theirs as well. Legal action can occur if we are a part of these law-breaking acts or witness them occurring and do not report them. If you notice anyone breaking the law and harming a patient in any way, don’t hesitate to report it immediately to your director of nursing or nurse manager. You are your patients’ advocate, and you must protect them at all costs after CNA training.