Feature Article| Volume 14, ISSUE 9, P671-676, October 2018

Liability Risks for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners

Published:September 29, 2018DOI:


      • The growing role of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners is discussed.
      • Liability risks for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are reviewed.
      • Recommendations to ensure best practices and avoid legal issues are suggested.


      Psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners play a key role in providing care to patients with mental illness. This role is increasing caused in part by a nationwide shortage of psychiatrists, as well as a lack of primary care physicians trained in basic psychiatric services. However, with increased clinical responsibilities come important legal considerations. Psychiatric nurse practitioners should become familiar with legal issues surrounding this practice area in order to ensure best practices for patients and to avoid malpractice litigation and licensing issues.


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      Melanie L. Balestra, JD, MSN, PNP, works at the Law Offices of Melanie L. Balestra in Irvine, CA. She is available at .