Today's guest post is from Tom Moverman. Tom established the Lipsig Bronx Firm with Harry Lipsig and his partners in 1989; The firm’s focus is in personal injury, construction accidents, car accidents, products liability, and medical malpractice. Tom's website is www.lipsigbronx.com.
Patients put an enormous amount of trust in the hands of healthcare workers. Efforts to avoid breaking this trust must be continuously implemented. Nurses are required, both ethically and legally, to treat patients according to the standards of their profession. Unfortunately medical mistakes are most likely the third leading cause of death in the United States. Furthermore, ten percent of all deaths in America are said to be medical error related. In order to avoid nursing errors, following these standards, as meticulously as possible, is necessary.
Double Check Every Procedure
In a study from the Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 68.3 percent of nurses remember making at least two to five errors over the course of their careers. The majority of these errors occurred when a doctor's order form was too difficult to read or illegible. The second major cause of nursing mishaps was distractions from patients, coworkers, or events.
Statistically, the highest rate of nursing errors occurs with prescriptions. Dosage errors are committed at an alarmingly high rate. To prevent these types of errors, nurses need to check medications multiple times before they are administered to patients. If a nurse has any questions or notices something out of the ordinary, they must approach a doctor. There is no place for shyness in this profession.
Less than half of all nurses involved in the study indicated that they believe drug errors are only reported 45.6 percent of the time. This reveals that nurses are hesitant to report errors and may fear a medical malpractice lawsuit if they do. Unfortunately, not reporting errors can severely diminish patient care and prevent the improvement of future procedures. Miscommunication and lack of communication in a healthcare environment is highly detrimental to all involved.
Give Complete Reports
Hastily completed medical documents or documents that lack information are a huge cause of nursing mishaps. To avoid a medical malpractice lawsuit, nurses should be as prepared and concise as they can when talking with a doctor. A patient's chart, a list of questions, and any suggestions should be available and ready before meeting with a doctor over the care of a patient.
Nursing errors frequently result from treatment miscommunication. In this situation, a nurse must be fully aware of all treatment methods. If multiple tubes need to be drained, if blood needs to be drawn every few hours, etc., a nurse must learn to communicate effectively with doctors to derive all necessary information. This collaborative environment must be reflected in all documentation and during in-person procedures.
Avoid Time Mismanagement
Time mismanagement is common in chaotic healthcare environments. Nurses may become overwhelmed and neglect patients or haphazardly fill out patient charts. To avoid nursing errors nurses must learn how to set priorities. A nurse must also realize the importance of flexibility and patience. Patients are present because they suffer from some sort of ailment. Remaining calm, collected, and level-headed is necessary during dire healthcare situations.
The most important time management skill for nurses is learning when to take a break. Healthcare workers work long, physically demanding shifts. It's easy to often forget to take care of your own body as a healthcare worker. Fatigue, burnout, and other serious medical issues can all contribute to the productivity breakdown of a nurse. If a break is needed, it must be taken.
It is well-known that healthcare professionals work long shifts. Administrators may try to schedule workers for back to back or extended shifts and this is particularly common for nurses. To avoid nursing mishaps, it is important to give nursing staff an adequate amount of downtime.
According to a study in the Journal of Safety Research, all nursing errors were directly related to working more than 40 hours a week. Medication errors had the most consistent relationship to overtime. Ignoring nursing fatigue has been proven to cause nursing errors and, ultimately, a medical malpractice lawsuit. This information should be thoroughly considered when a nurse is scheduled to work overtime.
Do Not Understaff
In a study from the Journal of Clinical Nursing, 82 percent of nursing errors were caused by a hospital administration's forced understaffing. Understaffing a hospital, or other healthcare environments is destructive to patient access and care. It is also a legal liability that can easily result in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Healthcare entities must schedule the right amount of staff for possible patient intake. They must also avoid treating staff unfavorably. Healthcare professionals work frequent shifts and shouldn't be performing these shifts alone. To provide the best level of care possible to patients, professionals need to actively collaborate with each other.
In order to avoid nursing errors, nurses must actively take steps to adhere to medical standards ascribed to their professional behavior. Double checking every procedure, limiting overtime, alerting administration to understaffing, checking reports for completeness, and managing time correctly are all methods that will work to prevent nursing mishaps. In a profession where accuracy is key, nurses must be vigilant in maintaining efficient, effective, and error-free patient care.
One of Ankota's recent whitepapers, entitled "Blueprint for the Next Generation of Healthcare at Home" is available for download. Please click the link or the picture below to download.
Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.