Mr. Smith developed a decubitus ulcer while hospitalized. The first witness plaintiff wants to depose is Nurse Brown. Why? Because plaintiffs’ lawyers think nurses give them the most useful/damaging testimony.
Nurses are thought to be good witnesses for plaintiffs for many reasons. First, they are not familiar with defending their care. Second, they learn: “if it isn’t written, it didn’t happen,” and tend to equate lack of documentation to negligence. And third, nurses are inclined to be patient advocates above all other considerations.How can you help your nurses do well at deposition?
Preparation of nurse witnesses is very different than that of physicians. They often require more time to establish trust and reassurance that the process can be fair. They must understand they will not lose their licenses; they are part of the team; and will not be financially responsible. Nurses must also be given specific suggestions on how to defend their care and documentation, and recognize that care only needs to be “reasonable,” not perfect.
Remember, nurses can help your case; they often just require a bit more time and a different approach. That’s our prescription!