The importance of patient safety

Length: 5 Pages 1164 Words

Patient safety is such an important part of our health care system and it helps define quality health care. Keeping our patients safe is a challenging issue because errors and mistakes can and do happen. Error occurs “when a planned sequence of mental and physical activities fail to achieve the intended outcome and when this failure cannot be attributed to some chance intervention or occurrence” (Ballard, 2003). According to the Institute of Medicine, medical error resulted in as many as 98,000 preventable deaths per year; twice the rate of traffic fatalities and the estimated cost in the US could be almost 29 billion dollars (Wells, 2001). Someone has to ensure operational systems and methods are taken to help reduce the likelihood that errors occur, but who is responsible for taking these proper measurers? Is it society, patients themselves, physicians, nurses, nursing professors, administrators, researchers, physicians, or professional associations? In the long run, all of these entities are responsible for making sure the patient has the safest possible outcome. This is a nationwide and worldwide issue that will never be completely resolved because error is always prone to happen. As nurses we need to make sure we Continue...

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I think the best solution for reducing patient safety is utilizing nurse's critical thinking processes. Heath care institutions and practitioners have also worked to educate patients so they are able to make informed choices (Ballard, 2003). Nursing definitely plays a huge part in patient safety. I will actively listen to what my patients needs are by observing all levels of their communication. Critical thinking takes so much more effort on the nurses' part, but the outcomes are very rewarding. Nurses are critical thinkers and with this comes the knowledge to deliver safe nursing care. There are many efforts taken to help patients have a safe environment. This thinking has been enforced for a long time. I know I can do my best to prevent errors through critical thinking. Hospitals are successfully retaining and attracting professional nurses by providing: participative management, open communications, quality leadership, creative and flexible staffing, competitive salaries and benefits, and educational programs (Ballard, 2003). This will not only protect myself but it will also make everyone involved in the patient's care well informed. The government has also taken action to improve patient safety by establishing practice acts and rules and regulations as well as improving the nursing workplace to reduce the burden on nurses. In most health care settings, nursing care is more utilized than medical care is. There are patient advocacy web sites that publish narratives of malpractice and hospital 'horror stories' from ordinary peoples experiences (Wells, 2001). Nurses can also take active part in identifying potential risks and helping resolve them.


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