Overview: Safe Harbor

Overview: Safe Harbor
Due to staffing shortages and the unpredictability of hospital needs, nurses are sometimes asked
to take on assignments outside their normal routines. As a healthcare professional, you must
understand your options when asked to take on such assignments, the risks associated with
accepting some assignments, and the protections afforded you by the law. Reflect upon your
learning about the Safe Harbor protection as well as any experiences you have had in this realm.
Then follow the instructions and complete the Safe Harbor form based upon a fictitious scenario.
Refer to your course readings and lectures as you complete the assignment.
Performance Objectives:
 Explain and apply appropriate options regarding acceptance or rejection of assignments,
including the use of Safe Harbor.
 Answer fill in the blank questions according to the readings this week.

Part 1: Safe Harbor Scenario and Questions
Nursing safe harbor is a law that nurses can use to absolve themselves of liability when forced to commit an act that the nurse believes violates Texas Board Statutes and Rules. Every nurse should be aware of the statutes and rules governing their profession. If a patient, supervisor or
doctor asks the nurse to violate one of these rules, the nurse can invoke safe harbor before committing the act to ensure that they aren’t held legally responsible for what happens next. This
protects them from facing punitive measures from their employer, losing their nursing license or
being sued in court for putting a patient’s life in danger.
Explore the Case Study Scenario and place yourself in this situation. Answer the following questions according to your knowledge of Safe Harbor from the lectures and readings this week.

On Sunday, August 6th, you arrive to Saint Luke’s Hospital at 7pm for your night shift and clock into the ICU. Maria, the Charge Nurse, approaches you as you are putting your bag in a locker. “Thank goodness you are here”, she says. “You are going to have to take extra patients tonight. I am dealing with 2 nurses who just called in sick. Your assignment tonight will include the septic and stroke patients you had last night, but you also need to take on two more- one with a brain aneurysm and one that is post op major cardiac surgery.” You know that this is an impossible task and would be placing the patients in serious harm. You ask if anyone can float to the floor or if someone can be called in, but no one is available. “This is all on you. I need you to be a team
player here,” says Maria. You decide to claim Safe Harbor and find Christine, the Nurse
Supervisor, who will invoke the Quick Request form on your behalf?

1). What are the 4 choices every RN has when given an assignment?

2). Based on the scenario above, you have decided to claim Safe Harbor. Refer to Rule 217.11
Standard of Nursing Practice, specifically Rule 217.11 1(T). Type the Rule as it appears into the
first text box. Based on this rule, why did you claim Safe Harbor? Type in second box.

Why did you claim Safe Harbor?

3). Name the two forms that need to be completed both before and after your shift. ***Update
Spring 2020, you can now invoke orally to supervisor who then can record the event, but forms still
must be filled out***

Part 2: Safe Harbor Quick Request Form
Below you will find the Safe Harbor Quick Request Form that must be completed
before you engage in the care of these patients. Fill out the text box portion as you are the nurse in the

Do NOT fax or mail this form to the BON. Give it to your supervisor.

BON Safe Harbor Quick Request Form
A valid Safe Harbor Quick Request must include the following information ( ):
  Name(s) of the nurse(s) invoking safe harbor:
 Name of the supervisor recording the safe harbor invocation on behalf of the nurse(s), if applicable [*Required if the nurse(s) orally invoke(s) safe harbor in accordance with NPR Law §303.005(b-1).]:

 Name of the supervisor recording the safe harbor invocation on behalf of the nurse(s), if applicable [*Required if the nurse(s) orally invoke(s) safe harbor in accordance with NPR Law §303.005(b-1).]:

  Date and time of the safe harbor invocation: