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All too often nurses and other hospital staff are harmed at work while diligently performing their duty of providing care for patients. Last week, NPR News released the first of a series of four investigative pieces addressing this failure to protect employee safety within hospitals.
Every day, nurses are repeatedly faced with circumstances that hinder their ability to adequately meet the need of their patients without harming themselves—specifically when it comes to their everyday duty of moving and lifting patients.
According to the NPR article, it is clear that the extent to which hospitals are emphasizing a “culture of safety” for nurses is incomparable to the way it is emphasized for patients—and understandably so being that the patient is the one who is ill or injured.
However, with nurses put in such fragile situations daily, the risks are high. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported more than 35,000 back and other injuries among nursing employees. In 2013 the BLS reported that orderlies and nursing assistants experience nearly triple the amount of musculoskeletal injuries causing them to miss work as police officers, correctional officers and construction laborers.
The article also notes that there is little to no aggressive action being taken by hospitals to address this and to protect their staff from lifting injuries—potentially leading to employees missing work or attempt to work through the pain, hindering patient care quality. According to American Nurses Association (ANA), 10 states within the country “require a comprehensive program in health care facilities” promoting nursing staff safety.
It seems there is a correlation between the lack of protection of nursing staff safety and the duty nursing staff have to produce an outcome--is the fix to the problem Just Culture?