Legal Department: Proactive Practice Management Will Help You Avoid Disciplinary Action
Balestra Melanie RN, NP, JD

Plastic Surgical Nursing
June 2012 
Volume 32  Number 2
Pages 65 - 66
  PDF Version Available!

Plastic surgery and aesthetic procedures continue to be some of the most expensive litigated areas. And, while malpractice insurance is designed to protect against negligence claims, it does not cover complaints filed with Boards of Nursing (BON). This is important to note, as complaints can come from a variety of sources, and any violation of the Nurse Practice Act is sufficient reason for discipline, which could potentially lead to the loss of a nursing license. This is especially important for aesthetic and plastic surgery nurses who can receive complaints about "unprofessional conduct" from patients unhappy with results following a procedure. The BON uses the disciplinary process to address problems and ensure patient safety. For a nurse defending herself or himself against a complaint, it can be a lengthy, detailed course of action.Unfortunately, it is impossible to know in advance when a hard-to-please patient will seek their services, but aesthetic and plastic surgery nurses can help protect themselves by taking a proactive, detailed-oriented approach to managing their practice. This preparation will allow them to focus on patients and help them avoid an unplanned encounter with the BON.Cosmetic procedures continue to increase in popularity. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 9.6 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2010. This included nearly 8 million minimally invasive procedures and 1.6 million surgical procedures (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2011).Unfortunately, this growth in cosmetic procedures also brings increased opportunities for patients unhappy with their final results and potential complaints with the BON. The best way for aesthetic nurses and plastic surgery nurses to avoid an unhappy patient-and risk for disciplinary action-is to be prepared. Begin by obtaining appropriate plastic surgical training and nursing certifications. There are several programs available, such as courses

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