Research Papers on Patient Safety in Nursing
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Patient safety in nursing naturally stands out as a topic of great concern for nurses themselves as well as patients and their families. Though perhaps the most distinct image associated with medicine may be that of the doctor interacting with a patient, the bulk of care for hospitalized patients falls to nurses. Promoting patient safety in areas ranging from monitoring for drug reactions to preventing infections is largely the nurse’s domain.
Problems With Patient Safety
In American hospitals, a minority of nurse’s time is devoted to direct care of patients. By most estimates, nurses spend 70 to 80 percent of their time on other tasks like paperwork and administrative duties. This has proved a matter of concern for patient safety advocates. Aside from the reduced efficiency in the health care system, having highly skilled nurses so often busy with other tasks takes its toll on safety and quality of care. Reforming hospital procedures so that nurses spend the majority of their time working with patients would do much to remedy these concerns.
Improving Patient Safety
Improving patient safety is something nurses have a part to play in as well. A nurse must always abide by appropriate medical procedures including the following:
- The careful sanitation of hands and equipment
- Unerring precision in patient identification
- Clear, consistent labeling of all medicines and testing samples
- Being well-rested and alert while working
Attentiveness to these procedures as well as open communication with patients, families, and doctors is the best way to promote patient safety in nursing.
Increasing patient safety clearly has notable implications for the healthcare organization. In terms of general benefits that can be garnered from increasing patient safety it is evident that this process can improve the overall level of care that is provided to patients. At a time when the quality of healthcare has come under question as a direct result of increasing costs, improvements in this area are critical for the development of healthcare organizations.
In addition to the general benefit of increasing quality care, this research definitively demonstrates that increasing patient safety can improve administrative, legal, ethical and financial development in the healthcare organization. Healthcare administration is improved when safety initiatives are implemented. Further legal and financial development of the healthcare organization is also positively impacted. When ethical issues are taken into consideration in the development of patient safety protocols, the outcomes for patients and healthcare professionals are profound. Patient safety practices help ensure that healthcare professionals are providing care based on core ethical principles guiding that have been put in place to guide professional practice.
When examined in this perspective, the true importance of creating patient safety initiatives in the healthcare organization becomes quite clear. Patient safety impacts almost every aspect of operations in the healthcare organization. This realization makes it easier to understand why scholars view patient safety initiatives as a critical component of organizational development as opposed to only relevant to a particular department. Patient safety is an issue that must be addressed by the entire organization and all of its members. Only by doing so will the healthcare organization achieve a level of competence and care that will ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. Although patient safety is a critical issue for the development of the healthcare organization, it is evident that substantial barriers to creating safety initiatives still exist. As such, healthcare professionals must work to overcome these barriers and create policies that can improve patient safety. While it is reasonable to assume that marked challenges will remain for several years to come, the importance of patient safety in the healthcare organization must become a priority for improving patient care.