Nurse safety and patient safety are very closely intertwined. If healthcare staff has all of the tools they need to do their jobs, then they are much safer and, in turn, the patients and even the families of patients that they are serving are also much safer. So how can you make your hospital safe for nurses?
An article on Health Leaders Media called “Patient Safety: Pay Now or Later” discusses the idea that paying for certain technology and enhancements, such as “ceiling lifts to assist in moving, lifting, and repositioning patients can prevent injuries among nursing staff and enhance the patient experience,” but they also state that some hospitals and facilities are not quite on board in implementing such helpful aids.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) contends the investment is well worth it, according to the article. According to ANA president, Karen Daley, there may be some legislation in the works to improve safety standards. Right now they are voluntarily based upon the ANA’s national disciplinary standards for safe-patient handling.
The standards include:
- Establish a culture of safety
- Implement and sustain a safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) Program
- Incorporate ergonomic design principles to provide a safe environment of care
- Select, install, and maintain SPHM technology
- Establish a system for education, training, and maintaining competence
- Integrate patient-centered SPHM assessment, plan of care, and use of SPHM technology
- Include SPHM in reasonable accommodation and post-injury return to work
- Establish a comprehensive evaluation system
Daley also states in the article that “musculoskeletal injuries are a primary reason healthcare workers leave direct patient care, adding that often healthcare workers don’t get injured by a single event” and that “most injuries are the result of the cumulative effect of lifting heavy loads day in and day out for years, which can lead to long-term disorders and disability.”
Perhaps shockingly, nursing assistants were the number one occupation for “musculoskeletal disorder-related on-the-job injuries or illnesses that require missed days from work,” according to the article and a 2011 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The profession topped the list over such trades as janitors, truckers, and laborers.
These kinds of statistics make clear that doing whatever necessary to ensure nurse safety is not only the right thing to do for staff and patients, but also that — despite the sticker shock of upfront costs — it will be less expensive in the long-run to make your hospital safe for nurses.
So, how safe is your hospital? What steps does your facility take to make your hospital safe for nurses?