Safe Harbor

Some states include a provision in their nurse practice act for nurses to resolve situations that they believe are unsafe or violate their duty to advocate for and protect the patient. This provision is called Safe Harbor. Nurses who accept or make assignments must consider patient safety. Frequently, nurses may be afraid to invoke Safe Harbor for fear of retaliation by a fellow nurse, a nursing supervisor, or the organization. Comprehensive review of the Safe Harbor provision is essential for all nurses. An employer or supervisor cannot deny a nurse the right to invoke Safe Harbor whether the nurse accepts or refuses the assignment. This provision is not a tool to be used if you don’t like your assignment, or feels it’s unfair, unless you see that it could violate patient safety or is beyond your skills, knowledge or ability. Is the Safe Harbor provision an effective tool for nurses? Do you feel protected under Safe Harbor? Have you invoked Safe Harbor but then felt you were being punished? Join NAA today today and share you story with other nurses. NAA invites you to participate in our collaborative efforts to improve our professional practice environment. Change begins with YOU!

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