As nurses, we take oath to uphold patient safety at all times. We are called to do our responsibilities right. Yet, nurses are still only human. Nurses are not infallible. We are not immune from committing mistakes. However, there can be no room for mistakes to us nurses since we deal with lives. A single misstep, a single mistake could mean a difference between life and death. It is people’s lives that are at stake in our hands WE only have one chance to do everything and we have to do them right. Negligence in our part is highly unacceptable.
Negligence as most textbooks would define in the context of nursing is an act of commission or omission that ultimately harms the patient. It is an act that a prudent nurse would not do. In other words, negligence happens when harm comes upon a patient because of an act that a nurse did or did not do.
There are negligent acts that sometimes go unnoticed. There are nurses who commit errors that get lucky enough when their patient comes out of an incident unscathed. They may give a sigh of relief, but that is no reason to celebrate. It only makes them more complacent. Eventually it gets to their minds that it is okay to commit errors as long as harm does not befall upon the patient.
There are many acts of negligence that happens in health care facilities all over the world. A very common example of a negligent act that could lead to unwarranted distress and harm to a patient is simply forgetting to turn the patient from side to side once very two hours. Bedridden and elderly patients have mobility problems. They can no longer move themselves freely without assistance. When they are left to lie on one particular side, bony prominences that are compressed to the bed surface from the force of their weight will not get adequate circulation that would supply the needed oxygen and nutrients by the tissues in the area. On worst cases when circulation in the area becomes compromised frequently for prolonged period of time, the cells would die. Soon, you would see the skin and even the tissues lying underneath become ulcerated. Unfortunately, the elderly does not have the optimum level of health to repair the damage immediately. It may take some time to heal even in uncomplicated conditions.
When events such as the one mentioned happens at long term health care facilities such as a hospice or a home for the aged, it really isn’t hard to find out who is guilty of such negligent act. Nurses and CNAs alike are the frontliners in the care of the patients. It is simply absurd to just forget what you are supposed to do, unless you were distracted with something else.
The negligent nurse can be fired. However, it does not undo the harm that was already done. It cannot take back a life that was already lost. As nurses, we are called to do the right thing. We are born with the natural tendency to make mistakes, however we can do something to fight our nature. Before going to work, free yourself of the burdens of the world. Detach yourself from your problems and be that person who only does what is right for the patients.