IT'S ALL FREE! Just the Facts

Quick!  Tell me the year you got your nursing degree.

If you're like many nurses during their depositions, you don't know the answer to that question.  That's just one of the common queries that nurses flub during their depositions.

As a legal nurse consultant who works for the Plaintiff,  you may write deposition questions for nursing staff and other fact witnesses.  If you work as an LNC for the Defense, you may help prepare nursing staff for their upcoming depositions.  If you're an expert LNC, you'll be questioned about this type of information.  Let's  look at some factual questions likely to be asked during a nursing deposition for a medical malpractice case.  And I'll point out some of the most common questions that cause nurses to flounder.

What is your full name?  Former names (such as maiden or name from previous marriage)? 

What is your address?  Former addresses?  How long have you lived at each address?

What is your Social Security number?  Deponents can ask to respond to this question off the record so that the information isn't in a court document.

What is your marital status?  Number of marriages?  Date(s) of marriage(s)?  Deponents sometimes have difficulty with this area.  They may not remember the date(s) they were married.

What is your educational background?  Year graduated?  Degrees earned?  Location of schools?  In my experience, many nurses are unable to provide their graduation date during their depositions.

Are you licensed or certified? (RN, LPN / LVN, CNA, etc.).  Year of licensure / certification? Number of times exam taken before passed? States of licensure/certification? This is another question that nurses have trouble answering.

What is your current and past employment status?  Names of employers? Dates of employment? Nursing staff often have difficulty identifying names of employers and dates of employment during their depositions.

What is the title of your current position?  Title of past positions?  Responsibilities of each position?

To whom do you report?  Who reports to you?

What types of patients do you work with now?  Types of patients in past positions?

Why are nurses unable to respond to some of these questions?  It's usually because they are nervous and unprepared.  If you're an LNC who is working for the Defense, check with the  attorney to see if he or she wants the nurse to write a brief list of answers to the above questions for use at the deposition.  But recognize that any pieces of paper brought to the deposition by the nurse will be copied and supplied to the opposing side as an exhibit.

Of course, these factual questions cover only demographic information.  Deponents will also be asked about their role in the events leading to the allegation of medical malpractice.

...Katy Jones