It is not a secret that working as a nurse in the emergency department is a physically and mentally taxing occupation which holds many responsibilities. Nurses that work twelve hour shifts and longer are shown to report increased concern over failing patient safety, due to fatigue (Griffiths et al., 2014). If a nurse is unable to obtain punctual arrival to the work environment, it may prolong the shift of another nurse already on the unit. In this essay, I would like to discuss how professional nursing responsibilities, patient safety, and punctuality of oncoming staff nurses could interact to become a risk factor for low quality care.
It is important to understand the responsibilities and consequences of nursing procedures to grasp the nurse’s role in patient safety. There are many areas where nurses may choose to work, and the more demanding of these areas is critical care units. These departments require the nurse to work at a much faster pace, with patients’ lives at risk if they are unable to do so. The high demand placed on nurses in these units places them at an especially high risk for fatigue. If done improperly, nursing responsibilities like medication administration, peripheral line insertion, and rapid assessments can have grave consequences for the patient. For example, if a patient received the wrong dose of a medication, it could result in chronic impairment or death. At the very least, perpetual tardiness may affect professional reputation with the employer.
Patient safety is a responsibility largely held by the primary nurse of a patient. Ninety-six percent of nurses and ninety percent of physicians, pharmacist and administrators report that nurses hold the responsibility of preventing patient harm in the hospital setting (Ramanujam, Abrahamson, Anderson, 2008). This number is quite staggering considering the fact that nurses receive a flow of information from several multidisciplinary team members.
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