As I have been figuring out how to do my job without becoming a complete emotional wreck, I continue to receive some distressing advice from the more seasoned nurses on my team.

“Spread the liability.”

Document to the hilt and show everything you did and tried to do and identify the other providers with whom you collaborated. So if it does hit the fan, no one can point the finger at you and say that you didn’t do your job.

In other words, cover your a$$.

I know, I know. You can only do so much. There will always be clients who cannot or will not work with you (I refuse to use the phrase “noncompliant”…it’s judgmental and doesn’t acknowledge the fact that every action – or lack of action – is a form of communication).

I know I’m not here to save the world. I know that despite my efforts, clients will have crises. Some will die. I am not a superhero, I’m a nurse.

I know this.

But when did the journey of helping people become about us? When did we become more worried about covering our own butts than supporting the client in crisis?

I may document thoroughly. I may spread the liability. But it doesn’t help me sleep at night when a client is found down with critically unstable blood sugars. It won’t make me feel better when I get the phone call that a client with uncontrolled hypertension finally has that stroke.

My license may be safe.

But it doesn’t mean I’m resting easy.

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