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
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 Nurses, 35(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