1. Section Editor(s): Tichich, Ellen Rice BA, RN

Article Content

You Be the Judge: PCA, Head Injury & Fall Prevention

Snowmass, CO: Nurses for Nursing,, 2011, DVD: 65 minutes, color; spiral-bound manuscript, 54 pages; $109.99


*Reviewed by:


Ellen Rice Tichich, BA, RN


Clinical Nurse Educator


Northfield Hospital, Minnesota



This DVD/manuscript program developed by Nurses for Nursing puts clinical staff in the role of both judge and jury to determine liability in the mock trial of Nurse Kelly Baxter after the death of a patient in her care. The setup begins with a brief definition of negligence and instructions for determining liability. In the scenario that follows, the plaintiff seeks damages on behalf of her deceased sister, claiming the nurse is directly responsible for causing her sister's death. After the opening statements, testimony begins. Standards of care for patient-controlled analgesia, falls prevention, and nursing awareness of patient deterioration are presented for scrutiny through testimony, expert witnesses, and the patient's medical record, including physician's orders and nursing documentation.


For educational purposes, the mock trial format itself serves to underscore the importance of detailed documentation, professional accountability, and critical thinking. The audio/video quality of the DVD is clear and crisp. The actors (scripts in hand) are obviously not professional but do lend role-play realism to the production, providing encouragement for those considering incorporation of mock trials into education. Playing the audio alone, allowing the listener to imagine rather than watch, might prove even more effective. Unfortunately, the tone set by the narrator is a bit lighthearted for the subject matter and tends to diminish the seriousness of nursing liability called to question in a court of law. In addition, important pieces of evidence, such as the patient's code status, are lacking. This could be distracting but may also trigger lively conversation regarding professionalism, follow-through, and critical thinking.


The accompanying manuscript would work well as is for enactment of the specific mock trial on patient-controlled analgesia, head injury, and falls prevention or for creation of customized scenarios on varying topics.


The DVD/manuscript is sold as a copyrighted package. For training purposes, this could be an inconvenience, as the evidentiary material and scripting contained therein could not be copied and distributed to attendees without the author's permission. The manuscript is currently not available separately.


For educators interested in developing mock trial procedures, You Be the Judge may be a good way to start. Ending up in a courtroom is every nurse's fear, and role playing the unimaginable may motivate critical thinking, reiterate the dos and don'ts of documentation, lead to policy review and revision, and promote discussion of best practices.