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Creating a Culture of Safety for Patients

Career News May 7, 2013

Nurses form a significant part of the staff of a hospital or physician’s office. The work they do is vital for the safety of the patients. A good nurse pays close attention to various areas of the workplace to make sure it is safe at all times. This is one of the priorities of the job.

Sanitation is a primary area of safety. There are strict sanitation regulations in place for medical facilities and nurses are expected to adhere to these at all times. In doing so, they drastically reduce the possibility of causing harm to patients and their co-workers. They should be clean, neat and tidy in their appearance and wash their hands and surfaces many times during the day. They must wash their hands before and after touching a patient to prevent the spreading of diseases.

Gloves are part of the safety equipment in a hospital for nurses. There is always a large supply of disposable gloves in all sizes available in a hospital or other medical facility. Nurses should put on gloves before coming into direct contact with a patient to prevent germs from spreading. They are also protecting themselves by wearing gloves, so they do not contract any disease from the patient. It also prevents spreading germs from one patient to another. Gloves should be discarded after being used for a patient and a new pair worn for the next patient. When this becomes a habit, nurses are ensuring the patients are safe.

A face mask is a common safety feature that nurses wear when they are in the operating room or assisting with various types of procedures. This is essential even if the nurse is not directly involved in the procedure because germs are airborne, so nurses wear the face mask when they are present in the same room. They also wear masks to protect patients from contracting an illness from another patient. These masks make up a large portion of supplies in a hospital and doctor’s office.

Nurses who are ill should remain at home until he or she is feeling better and is no longer contagious. Nurses that are sick at work would be jeopardizing patients’ safety because they spend most of their time with patients.

Nurses should have proper training to work safely on patients at all times. The training they receive in nursing school has to provide them with this, and they are tested on it, in order to receive certification and licensure. Even after they begin to work, the training has to continue. They must be trained in how to operate new equipment and made aware of any changes in safety guidelines. With training, the nurses are well prepared to create a culture of safety for patients in a medical setting. At the same time, nurses who are well trained minimize any threat to safety for themselves and their patients.

Nurses must have the communication skills necessary to interact with patients, staff and families of patients. With a good bedside manner, they can establish a rapport with the patient and this aid in the creation of a safe work environment. When patients have a good understanding of their condition and their treatment; they will be able to cope with being in the hospital. Nurses help them understand what is happening and what they can expect in the next few hours or days.

Nurses are required to be very detail oriented. Every detail must be evaluated because even the smallest omission could lead to an exceptionally large mistake. When they watch everything and double check their actions with patients, nurses decrease the possibility of mistakes that could be disastrous for patient safety. It is true that nurses work long hours and do not time to sit down. In spite of this, it is vital that they remain alert to every detail at all times to make sure that patients are always as safe as they can be.

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