When it comes to addressing patient safety issues within a hospital, nurses want to make a difference and they assign themselves great responsibility for safe outcomes. However, the question remains whether hospitals are doing everything they can in terms of keeping patients safe. According to a recent survey of nurses in the U.S., UK and China by GE Healthcare and the American Nurses Association, many nurses have witnessed errors and few call their own hospitals safe.
“Our goal in initiating this survey with the ANA was to get to the root causes of what is driving patient safety issues in today’s hospital, by surveying those who know the hospital best – nurses,” said Rob Reilly, Chief Marketing Officer, GE Healthcare, USCAN. “It is clear from the results of this survey that nurses place much of the responsibility of patient safety on their own shoulders. However, with the challenges facing today’s hospital, it is almost impossible for a nurse to shoulder this entire burden, and this survey provides valuable information on how we can work to improve the situation.”
Nurses cited workload, too many patients, time pressure and fatigue as factors leading to compromised safety. Additionally, nurses addressed access to technology, hospital culture and communication as the main barriers to patient safety.
Access to technology
59% of nurses agree that although patient safety data is collected and reported, there is no follow-up or feedback given to the nurses. Three quarters (74%) of nurses name “technology/software” as a patient safety initiative that exists in their hospital and an additional 23% would like to see this in their health system. Nurses see technological innovation as key to identifying early warning signs of patient risk and alerting staff (68%) as well as improving the effectiveness of communication with regards to patient information in the hospital setting (67%).