Defensive Practices of Nurses

Sunday, 30 July 2017: 10:35 AM

Nuray Turan, PhD
Department of Fundamentals of Nursing, Istanbul University, Florence Nightingale Nursing Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey
Nurten Kaya, PhD
Department of Midwifery, Istanbul University, Health Sciences Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey


Nowadays, defensive practices are usually seen as a situation which is performed by physicians, members of health care team, in order not to take a risk. Defensive practice occurs whenever a practitioner gives a higher priority to selfprotection from blame than to the best interests of the patient. Defensive practice is commonly attributed to concern at malpractice litigation, in particular financial liability. There is no data on whether nurses perform defensive practices. This study was carried out in descriptive type to determine the defensive practice status of nurses.


While the nurses working in a university hospital constituted the population of the study, the sample of the study consisted of 30 nurses who were selected by random sampling method.


It was determined that 55.7% (n=167) of the nurses, who were included within the scope of the research, sometimes refrained from making mistake in nursing care, 60.3% (n=181) of them never administered any drug she thought it was unnecessary, 55% of them never kept away from the patients who are more likely to file a lawsuit to protect themselves, 50% (n=150) of them sometimes explained nursing practices in more detail to protect themselves from the allegations of malpractice, 46.7% of them (n=140) never avoided practices with high complications, 66% (n=198) of them always kept the records in a more detailed way to protect themselves from allegations of malpractice, and 52.7% (n=158) of them defined the risk of encountering with a malpractice case at any time according to the conditions of the environment.


These data obtained have indicated that nurses sometimes perform defensive practices. Thus, it is necessary to develop and implement strategies to prevent nurses from performing defensive practices in order not to make concessions on quality in the care of a healthy/sick individual and to ensure a fair distribution of the health system resources.