Connection of Nurse Work Hours to Patient Safety (Essay Sample)
The task was an essay with a prompt requiring students to explain how the number of hours nurses work affects their productivity and attention when attending to patients.source..
Nurse Work Hours and Patient Safety
Nurse Work Hours and Patient Safety
The fundamental goal of health care systems globally is to provide high-quality care. To address the increasing health expenditures that have been fueled by critical changes such as the complexity of illnesses, many countries have implemented strategies to reduce the costs. However, some of these strategies, such as long shifts for registered nurses, could affect the quality of care (Cho et al., 2016). In the past few years, there has been growing interest in the effect of nurse work hours on the quality of care. Whereas some studies show that registered nurses working long hours have a higher probability of making medical errors and convey a substantial decrease in vigilance due to fatigue, others emphasize that they are beneficial since they minimize patient turnover.
Being the largest health care workforce, nurses are fundamental in promoting patient safety and quality care. In the past, researchers have tried to determine the organizational factors that influence the safety and quality of care in health organizations (Cho et al., 2016). Studies widely contend that the nurse staffing level in a hospital is directly associated with safety and quality of care (Kim & Bae, 2018). This implies that health organizations that have higher nursing staffing levels offer better care as shown by lower mortality rates, shorter hospital stays, and fewer adverse events. Besides the nurse staffing levels, it is equally important to consider the number of hours every professional works as this is a sensitive issue with regard to safety and quality.
Alertness and vigilance are necessary for providing quality services, and these can only be attained when a nurse has adequate sleep and rest. Today, the number of registered nurses in the United States is approximately four million that shows that the nurses are strong in number (Stimpfel et al., 2019). Usually, they work using twelve-hour shifts and this often leads to unplanned overtime to complete patient-related tasks (Stimpfel et al., 2019). By considering that these nurses have to attend to other duties like domestic responsibilities, there is little time left to sleep. Lack of sufficient sleep has been implicated in serious errors such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 (Endee & Spriggs, 2020). In nursing, sleep deprivation constitutes a risk for making serious safety mistakes in the administration of medication or even making nurses fail to impede a medical error by another health professional.
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