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Staffing shortages and medication errors - Research Paper Example

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Staffing shortages and medication errors Name: University: Abstract Around the globe, there have been a declining number of nurses within the hospitals. This reduction has ended up causing the ratio of patients to nurses to increase. Consequently, this results in poor services and mistakes that sometimes end up causing death…
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Download file to see previous pages This shortage may be attributed to the fact that most nurses shun this job due to unfavorable working conditions in hospitals, nurses moving to outpatient care, managed care service and some into business. In addition, nursing does not attract many young applicants, thus the retiring nurses have no other people to replace them. In another dimension, nursing teachers are not paid well. This leads to less nurses taking up the teaching job, subsequently nursing schools enroll few students who will be well attended to by the few staff (Garrett, 2008). Research has proven that some of the leading causes of severe effects in inpatient care may be directly attributed to the current nursing shortage in hospitals. The result of understaffing of nurses may lead to medication errors that may end up causing deaths among patients. Shortage of nurses in hospitals leads to patient monitoring and pain checking being ignored. This comes about due to the fact that the few available nurses are being overwhelmed by their work, and may end up forgetting about other patients, something that may be fatal if the patients are in a critical state or may lack the time to conduct the routine check up on some patients (The point of care 2001). Shortage of nurses may also lead to the available workers being overworked by working overtime, something they cannot refuse due to the fact that according to the American Nursing Association, they are liable to losing their jobs or their working licenses being revoked. Due to overworking the nurses accumulate stress and fatigue may lead to them giving medication to the wrong patient or giving wrong doses or even missing a dose entirely. Fewer nurses may also lead to neglect of patients by the nurses. This may be seen in that, in the process of attending to a patient, a more seriously ill patient may be brought in, and this may lead to the nurse abandoning the patient. Nurse under staffing has also been established to be having an effect on urinary tract infections and pneumonia. Studies show that nurse staffing and have adverse effects. The class of care rendered to most patients, and their safety is jeopardized by the Shortages of nurses in medical facilities. This problem is brought about by the fact that nurses concentrate on many patients at a time, thus inhibiting patients from acquiring quality attention. Understaffing of nurses leads to them not having a conducive working environment. Most hospitals necessitate them to work overtime leading to burn outs. This is attributed to the fact that nurses are not able to handle the pressure from the working environment. This pressure results in reduced performance. Overworking leads to medication errors that nurses do not provide when prescribing drugs, administering drugs or carrying out medical tests. Also, nurses do not take the right precaution when caring for patients, which ends up affecting patients’ result and may lead to death (Garrett, 2008). Quite a number of patients suffering from acute diseases die as a result of medication errors. There are legislations passed to help prevent medication error. Medication safety language was added to the tax relief and health care act of 2006. Inclusion of hospital quality requirement in the bill allows patients to get information they need; that is, report from hospital illustrating whether it meets established safety standard; thus people are able to protect themselves ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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