Clinical Patient Safety

Patient Safety: A Guide for New Nurses

As a nurse, you spend more time with your patients than any other healthcare provider. You play a key role in ensuring and promoting safe healthcare practices, and this is why it is important to be confident in your own knowledge and training. According to the Journal of Patient Safety America, deaths caused by preventable medical errors in the U.S. reaches anywhere from 210,000 to over 400,000 a year. You can help reduce this number by following these six simple safety procedures:

Report errors. Report errors in the workplace as soon as they are detected. This is essential to maintaining patient safety. Although it is easy to be discouraged and embarrassed by mistakes, taking responsibility for them is important because it could mean saving a patient’s life.

Be a critical thinker. Think about all of the possible outcomes to consider the best course of action to take in all situations. Developing critical thinking skills will help you make quick and efficient decisions while under pressure.

Minimize distractions and interruptions. While working in the healthcare field, it can be difficult to avoid distractions and interruptions, even when performing critical tasks. To help minimize this, notify staff to avoid interrupting while you are administering medications. Keeping a checklist of tasks may be beneficial in remembering where you left off when disruption is inevitable.

Teamwork is important. Informing medical personnel about your patient’s needs and concerns when changing shifts will help to prevent mishaps. Working as a team when discussing patients will decrease the chance of making an error.

Familiarize yourself with reversal agents. Be familiar with the medications you administer. It is crucial to have knowledge on all of the reversal and rescue agents available to you. Know how to use them in case of an emergency.

Pay attention. Active listening is one of the most important skills you will need in the healthcare field. As a caregiver, you spend the most time with the patient, so you must be aware of their needs and concerns. This will help you maintain a safe environment for your patients.

Working in healthcare can be challenging, so it is important that you understand the role you play and how to be the best patient safety advocate you can be. Using these tips will help prepare you for whatever the workday has in store.

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