Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

What Nurse Educators Can Do to Save Patient Safety from Falling through the Cracks

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

What Nurse Educators Can Do to Save Patient Safety from Falling through the Cracks

Article excerpt

RECENTLY, I RECEIVED THE NEW BOOK EDITED BY ROSS KOPPEL AND SUZANNE GORDON: FIRST DO LESS HARM: CONFRONTING THE INCONVENIENT PROBLEMS OF PATIENT SAFETY (CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2012). I took the book with me on a long plane ride, and although I had intended to sleep, I could not put it down. I was spellbound by its fresh take on the old problem of patient safety.

Like you, I have read many articles about the need to ensure patient safety in hospitals and other health care facilities. I have been to countless meetings and seminars where patient safety issues were discussed. And I am well aware of the patient safety committees, institutes, champions, and officers everywhere I go.

In their new book, Koppel and Gordon clearly identify the multifaceted and extremely complex nature of patient safety in our health care facilities. They remind us that there are important steps that we, as nurse educators, can take immediately. Here are some takeaway messages, minor and major fixes for our educational programs.

* Be certain that we do not play into the uneven power balances within the health care environment. All health care professionals, including medical and nursing students, should use their titles and surnames in all interactions.

* Make certain that we have adequate representation on health care teams. When medical students are included on teams, nursing students should be included as well.

* Ensure that nursing students are taught how to participate when they are invited to the table or the team. Being on the team is only the first step. Participation is critical.

* Teach our students about the dangers of workload, including the negative outcomes of stress and sleep deprivation, and make certain they have the tools to alleviate potential outcomes (e.g., mindfulness interventions and other stress reduction techniques). …

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