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Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!

April 2013, Volume 11 Number 2 , p 8 - 10


  • Ann Delamont MSN, RN, VHA-CM


Nurse B is a busy nurse on a medical-surgical unit. He has been out of school for almost a year and still hesitates at times with quick decisions. He sometimes fears that he'll make a mistake when caring for his patients.According to one study, 42% of healthcare-related life-threatening events and 28% of medication adverse reactions are preventable. Developing a culture in which nurses can ask questions and function in a professional working environment without anxiety can reduce these alarming statistics. Nurses play a vital role in preventing events that may negatively impact patient health.Nursing errors commonly revolve around patient falls, infections, medication errors, documenting errors, and equipment injuries. These include failure to: * collaborate with other healthcare team members * clarify interdisciplinary orders * ask for and offer assistance * utilize evidence-based performance guidelines or bundles * communicate information to patients and families * limit overtime * adequately staff patient care units with enough nurses to allow them to safely provide care.Let's examine what you can do to prevent these types of errors.The CDC estimates that one out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. There are physiologic effects that can contribute to these falls, such as vertigo (common with hypoglycemia), the flu, Meniere disease, multiple sclerosis, and anesthetic medications commonly used during inpatient and outpatient procedures. This is important for Nurse B to keep in mind when he's caring for his patients.As a nurse, there are several simple preventive measures he can take to protect his patients from falls. * Encourage patients to ask for help when they get out of bed, and make sure there are no obstacles to the restroom or around the bed. Many patients believe that they don't require assistance or can become tangled in equipment, causing them to fall. * Verify activity orders. These can vary during the hospital stay and after changes in condition

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