Exemplar – Quality and Safety

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its assault on our nation’s health care, nurses risk exposure on a daily basis, and this presents an obvious threat to their physical health.  But the demands of working longer hours, lack of sleep, high-stress environment, high patient acuity and nurse-to-patient ratios, is taking a toll on nurses mental health, contributing to fatigue and burnout (Ross, 2020).  Fatigue can make it difficult for nurses to focus and make proper decisions, leading to a decrease in patient and nurse safety as a result of increased risk of medical errors, accidents, and injuries (Weinstein, 2020).   Establishing healthy work-hour policies, shifting the blame culture, educating staff on sleep hygiene, providing opportunities for nurses to express concerns about fatigue and taking action by implementing fatigue reduction measures into the organization safety plans are a few strategies that can be used to mitigate quality and patient safety risks.  Bottom line, quality care and patient safety hinges on nurses’ well-being.

DNP Essential(s): II, V, VI

References:

Ross J. (2020). The Exacerbation of Burnout During COVID-19: A Major Concern for Nurse Safety. Journal of perianesthesia nursing : official journal of the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses35(4), 439–440.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jopan.2020.04.001

Weinstein S. M. (2020).  Nurse Fatigue Takes Toll on Patient Care.  Retrieved from https://nursingcentered.sigmanursing.org/features/more-features/Vol41_1_nurse-fatigue- takes-toll-on-patient-care

2 thoughts on “Exemplar – Quality and Safety

  • March 7, 2021 at 3:21 pm
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    Natalia,
    Your call outs in the post are monumental. What a laundry list of areas of opportunity for improvement our facilities have to work on. I think the most important things is evaluating the list, prioritizing each area, and setting in motion a plan for improvement. We have to take care of our nurses so that they can care for the patients. If our nurses are cared for and their needs are met, they will be able to provide high quality safe care to the patients.

    • March 8, 2021 at 6:08 am
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      Branae,

      Thanks for your comments. nurse fatigue and burnout is certain not a new concept, but COVID-19 has certainly brought this issue to the forefront of concerning trends. Addressing this growing issue will certainly take a collaborative effort by health administrators and staff to put safeguards into place to keep nurses and other health care workers safe and thus, decrease risk to patient care. For instance, some hospitals have instituted rest time for nurses and provided them a space to take naps and decompress from a long shift. Doctors and residents are provided this rest space, so applaude organizations that are being innovative and thinking outside the box on this matter.

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