What should a school nurse do when they suspect that a child has suffered from abuse? What should a nurse do when their administration wants them to keep quiet?
This article by TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald and David L. Scher was published by Payers & Providers on July 30, 2015. The full article is available at Payers & Providers.
Payers & Providers
The Reporting Obligations Of Nurses: They Should Disclose Abuse Cases in Non-Clinical Settings
Every state and the major U.S. territories have statutes or regulations that mandate certain professionals or employees of certain institutions report suspected child abuse to government authorities. These statutes generally include social workers, healthcare professionals, and school personnel. Whether listed expressly or not, nurses practicing in a non-clinical setting are universally included as mandatory reporters. As a nurse, particularly one practicing in a non-clinical setting such as a school, what should you do when you’re faced with suspected child abuse? What should you do when your boss wants to maintain the status quo and keep quiet?
The duty to report typically arises when you have a reason to believe or suspect that a child is abused or neglected. Abuse or neglect includes physical and mental harm, and in most states, it includes the risk of physical or mental harm. Actual knowledge of abuse or neglect is not required to trigger your reporting obligations, and failure to report can bring civil and even criminal penalties.