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September 2012, Volume 42 Number 9 , p 10 - 11



Recently, a nursing student left a patient alone in the pick-up/drop-off area. Although the patient was an ambulatory adult, the student took him to the front entrance in a wheelchair per hospital policy and procedure. But rather than wait for the patient's family to bring the car around, she went back to her assigned unit and continued working. Meanwhile, the patient walked out the front door. Luckily, the family intercepted him and no harm was done. Who'd have been at fault if the patient had been injured because he was left alone on hospital property by a nursing student, contrary to hospital policy?-B.R., TENN.The nursing student should have been previously instructed on hospital policy and procedure regarding patient discharge. It's the responsibility of the hospital, including the nursing staff and the school of nursing's clinical instructor, to orient students to the hospital's policies and procedures. If the patient had been injured while left alone, everyone responsible for the

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