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Nursing Errors And The Stakes Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

Every day there is a constant trust adhered to many different people in the profession of Nursing—the decision of what will help patients in terms of medicine, and the confidence to make these decisions. One false act or one slight misdiagnoses of medication to a patient could be the prime factor in whether the patient lives or dies. Nurses in hospitals across the country are spread thin, and thus makes the probability of mistakes higher. If a medicinal dose is off by even one decimal a patient could die, so the only real answer is for nurses to not be afraid to ask for assistance, always follow procedure and voice opinion is they feel something is wrong.
Firstly, every year there are many deaths associated with medical errors. Sarah Loughran writes, “An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002…” ( and this was just in 2000, 2001, and 2002 with the numbers bouncing higher or lower each year; nevertheless, there seems to be no end in sight for errors in the medical field. There is a way to lower these numbers drastically. The way to do this is by leveling the doctor to nurse ratio in hospitals thereby eliminating the stress factors on most nurses whom often have several patients to attend by themselves but no help in doing so. While demand for nurses may be high, there also comes a breaking point for any human being, “…factors including the high acuity of patients, inadequate nurse to patient ratios, increased work demand, and decreased resources.” (American
Journal of Critical Care, 503.) The leading causes of most errors among stress and interruption are other factors such as: wrong dosage, dose omission, wrong patient, wrong time, and wrong administration rate. (British Journal of Nursing, 381.)
Situations that bring about these mistakes can be prevented with the proper placement of experience and ability. If a doctor is busy with many patients, and the nurse on staff has many other patients they are attending than the nurse need be experienced and able to calmly handle the situation and not be scared to ask for a little assistance. STNAs and LPNs are there for this purpose, they can lend a hand in caring for patients. Nurse’ should be confident that they can do their job and not buckle under pressure, nor should they make assumptions and guesses when they are in a tight predicament that requires a high level of focus.
Secondly, there is the issue with nurses not following protocol. Procedures are in place for a reason, to insure the safety of the patient. Agyemang writes, “…many errors occur as a result of nurses not following policies and procedures…” (British Journal of Nursing, 382.) Some nurses violate procedures such as, “…double checking medicines prepared by co-workers, reduction of responsibility (both nurses expecting the other person to have checked it more thoroughly), auto-processing (one...

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