Your responsibility to report child abuse as a nurse

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2023 | Professional License Issues |

As a nurse, you are in the privileged position of getting to see and talk to a lot of people each day. You have the chance to learn things about them that most folk will never discover. 

With that privilege, however, comes responsibility. As a professional nurse, you are obligated to report certain things, such as signs of child abuse. It’s known as being a mandated reporter. This applies whether you just happened to notice the signs or if the patient themselves told you, even if they asked you not to tell anyone else. Remember, an abused child may not have anyone else they can tell.

You need to tread a fine line

Just because someone has a bruise on their arm does not mean someone is abusing them. There could be many explanations for why an injury occurred. Yet you cannot afford to be overly cautious either, as failing to mention you suspected something could have severe consequences for you and the child. Failing to report suspected child abuse could put your license at risk and even cause you to face criminal charges.

If something later happens to that child when they return home, the authorities may investigate where opportunities to identify the risk were missed. They might consider that you were one of those who should have noticed and that you failed to uphold your duties as a mandated reporter. Yet, what if you did not notice or had no reason to suspect the child had suffered abuse? Getting legal help to protect your license will be crucial.