Patient safety should be a top priority at all times, but let’s face it – sometimes things get a little messy. In fact, many doctors feel that patient safety practices are getting worse because of staffing shortages, according to an article published in The Guardian. During Patient Safety Awareness Week, take time to refresh your memory on all the most important patient safety tips. Consider how you can improve your own safety practices. Also, think about how you can work with your team members to improve the patient safety culture at your healthcare facility. Check out these five ways to promote patient safety as a travel nurse!
Five Ways to Promote Patient Safety as a Travel Nurse
1. Streamline processes
As a travel nurse, you’re arriving to work in a hospital that most likely has new processes and ways of doing things. Make sure you clarify with your new team members exactly what the process is for everything from transporting patients to different units to discharging them. Check if the hospital is partnered with a patient safety organization, and learn any safety systems that are already in place. This will help you to ensure patient safety despite being the newbie.
2. Pause for patient education
Hospital workers move fast. One of the ways to promote patient safety is to take the time to educate your patients. Make sure they know the dangers of misusing whatever prescription medication you’re giving them. Instruct them on exactly what they’re supposed to do when they leave the hospital. Educating patients on everything from proper prescription use and storage to dietary restrictions is one of the most effective ways to promote patient safety. Not only will it help them to feel more confident going home, but it will reduce the likelihood of them coming back.
3. Slow down
Although you often have to do things quickly as a nurse, it’s important to be efficient. Slow down and make sure that you’re doing all proper procedures when inserting catheters or chest tubes. These are two of the most common scenarios where patient safety can improve, so brush up on your skill set and make sure your work is done correctly. This can make a huge difference.
4. Keep clean
It may seem self-explanatory that hospitals should be clean, but you’d be surprised how many cleanliness procedures are overlooked. From nurses coughing into their hands to someone forgetting to disinfect something, germs spread. In a setting where people are already sick and vulnerable, this can be a deadly mistake. It’s not only important to make sure that your hands are clean but to pay close attention to disinfecting your patients’ skin and anything that will come in contact with them. Keep an eye on your coworkers too. We could all use a friendly reminder to do or not to do something that may have become a bad habit.
5. Practice self-care
One of the most important and impactful ways to promote patient safety is to practice self-care. Make sure that providers are not working too many hours or caring for too many patients at one time. Although you don’t always have control over these situations, you do have control over your self-care in making sure that if you are overworked and understaffed, you’re able to keep up. Finding a way to avoid burn out will improve patient safety. If you’re taking care of you, you’ll have an easier time taking care of your patients too. There are many strategies you can use to avoid burnout. Find the best option for you to prevent nursing burnout.
What are some of your favorite or most effective ways to promote patient safety? Help raise awareness of patient safety by sharing some tips in the comments below!