As a certified nursing assistant, you typically work with patients who are particularly vulnerable in rehabilitation centers or long-term care facilities. The law provides certain protections to patients such as these.

Though you may have no intention of breaking the law, certain actions toward your patients can result in the loss of your CNA license, as well as other possible penalties. The following are serious legal issues that can arise as a CNA.

Abuse

CNAClassesNearYou.com defines abuse as an act intended to do harm to another person. Abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological or sexual in nature. As a CNA, you have a responsibility not only to avoid abusing your patients but to report any incidents of abuse to which you are a witness. Failure to do so could cause the patient unnecessary suffering in addition to the potential loss of your license.

Neglect/Negligence

Neglect is a failure to provide for patients’ basic needs. It can result in potentially dangerous medical conditions such as malnutrition or bedsores. Neglect can be either intentional or unintentional, but the consequences are similar either way. Neglect also relates to negligence, which occurs when the care you provide falls short of the accepted standard.

Privacy

It is important that you always respect a patient’s right to privacy. When you have to perform personal care or a medical procedure, be sure that you only do so behind a closed curtain. Patients’ right to privacy also extends to their medical records. Do not discuss these with unauthorized personnel, and do not allow anyone to access the records who should not see them.

Theft

Do not take items that do not belong to you from a patient or the facility. This includes seemingly insignificant items, such as clothing or linens. If you observe someone else stealing, report the theft immediately.