Skip to content

Patient Safety in Nursing

Medical errors are a medical professional’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, they are also quite common. According to research from Johns Hopkins University, patient mortality due to medical errors was noted as the third leading cause of death in the United States within the last five years.

While improving medical errors can be a complex issue,  several reliable strategies can help significantly reduce incidence rates. For many hospitals, the road to better outcomes begins with the implementation of improved patient safety protocols. If designed and deployed effectively, these protocols empower healthcare administrators to learn from past mistakes, improve the trustworthiness of their medical staff, minimize errors, and, most importantly, reduce patient mortality rates.

What is Patient Safety in Nursing?

Understanding patient safety in nursing is the first step towards reducing the risk of medical errors. Patient safety has been defined by the Institute of Medicine simply as “the prevention of harm to patients.” Others have expanded on this definition, emphasizing the need to promote patient safety through the creation of a care delivery system that focuses on preventing errors and learning from those that occur. A robust, successful patient safety strategy will use evidence-based outcomes to constantly improve patient safety protocols and establish an enduring culture of learning and improvement.

Nurses are a crucial part of any hospital’s efforts to improve patient safety. Nurses have the most direct interaction with patients of any healthcare professional—they consistently monitor patients’ conditions, administer medication, and communicate self-care and discharge information. Because nurses are directly involved with patients on a day-to-day, often hourly level, improving their ability to provide accurate, high-quality care is paramount to the success of any holistic patient safety strategy.

But while nurses play a vital role in patient safety, they are certainly not alone. Patient safety must be viewed as a collaborative effort, one that hospital administrators, doctors, and physicians’ assistants are equally engaged in. Only when all healthcare professionals commit to reducing medical errors will meaningful, measurable improvements be made.

How do Nurses Ensure Patient Safety in the Hospital?

An effective approach for improving patient safety measures in nursing must be tailored to nurses and the unique role they play in providing bedside care. Many nurses find it helpful to break patient safety down into a set of tangible tactics geared towards minimizing medical errors and improving patient outcomes, including:

Monitoring Patients

A patient’s medical condition can change in the blink of an eye, meaning nurses must be prepared to quickly identify any complications that arise. Continuing education significantly improves nurses’ patient monitoring skills, helping them better understand the nuances of wound progression, pressure ulcers, and other bedside conditions so that they can spot complications before they become dangerous.

Access to new technology also helps nurses monitor patients more effectively. While bedside alarms are commonplace in most hospital settings, technological innovations like medicine barcode scanning and laser temperature checks continue to improve the quality of patient monitoring.

Educating Patients

Patients’ lack of compliance with their post-discharge self-care routine, including wound management, medication regimens, and occupational therapy, is a common source of preventable error in healthcare. According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, medication errors are present in approximately 50% of patients once they are discharged. More specifically, a study found that 59.2% of cardiac patients had a misunderstanding in indication, dose, or frequency of their cardiac medication.

Educating patients on their post-discharge care is a simple, yet effective, example of how nurses can improve patient safety. By working with patients to ensure they have a thorough understanding of their medical condition and self-care routine before they are discharged, nurses help facilitate a smooth recovery. If patients seem unable to recall or comprehend their outpatient care requirements, it may be necessary for nurses to ensure compliance with a family member.

Assisting Physicians

Despite their laser focus on a patient’s condition, physicians are still susceptible to human error. In the operating room and beyond, nurses serve, among many roles, as an extra pair of eyes, ready to call a timeout before the physician makes a mistake.

To help doctors avoid mistakes whenever possible, nurses must maintain a keen understanding of each patient’s existing medical record and any procedure they are receiving. This heightened awareness will empower nurses to more readily identify conflicting medications or surgical risks that could put the patient in jeopardy.

How do Nurses Promote Patient Safety?

Promoting patient safety in nursing requires the cultivation of intentional communication and collaboration—a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of leaders within the hospital’s nursing department. In a healthy workplace environment, effective nurse administrators will applaud those who strive to diligently minimize medical errors and alert others when errors have occurred, setting the tone for a respectful, transparent medical team.

On the contrary, administrators that partake in shaming their employees for making honest mistakes or calling attention to the mistakes of others will only stifle communication. Afraid to speak up, employees will sweep mistakes under the rug, directly jeopardizing patient safety. This type of fear-induced workplace culture adds a layer of stress to an already high-stress profession, further impacting a nurse’s ability to effectively care for their patients.

Sumner College Phlebotomy graduates are thriving in Arizona. Are you next?

If you desire an collaborative career, phlebotomy is the occupation for you. Not only is the profession’s abilities regularly expanding, but phlebotomists are able to

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

#HealthcareCareer in Phlebotomy – Enroll Today at Sumner College Arizona

Sumner College Arizona provides unique opportunities for our students to learn and develop practical experiences before they begin their career.  Phlebotomy continues to grow as

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Nursing Assisting Median Annual Wages

Sumner College offers a Nursing Assistant Program on the Arizona Campus. If you’re looking for a career where you can make a difference in the

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

CNA – Job Projected Outlook 2020-2030

Job Outlook Nursing Assistants and Orderlies Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30 Home health and personal care aides; and nursing assistants, orderlies, and psychiatric aides

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

CNA – Job Summary – What does a CNA Do?

Now is a great time to pursue a career as a Nursing Assistant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Nursing Assistants Job

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Now Hiring – Financial Aid Officer

Financial Aid Officer  Within a centralized financial aid services environment, evaluates, approves, and awards financial aid to students in accordance with federal, state, and college

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Joanna Russell visits with CW’s Nicole DeCosta about the RN to BSN Program at Sumner College

RN's that already have their Associates Degree have so many more options for continuing education. Joanna Russell, President, Sumner College talks with Nicole DeCosta, CW's

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Interview with Joanna Russell and CW’s Nicole DeCosta

Right now is a great time to enter the healthcare field interview with Joanna Russell, President, Sumner College. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwtLsLKZKZc[/embed]

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Informational Sessions – Seats Available June 15th

Sumner College has a few remaining seats open for the June 15th Nursing Informational Session with President, Joanna Russell. It's all online! Sign up now

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Nursing Assistant Types

UCNA, CNA, and LNA Note: As of July 1, 2016, Arizona offers two types of nursing assistant credentials in Arizona: Certified Nursing Assistant, designated as

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Class of 2022 Entering the Best Job Market in Years

Great NBC News story highlighting the job search experience for recent grads like Aga Sophia Noel, an Occupational Therapy Assistance graduate from CECU member career

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Now Hiring – Dean of Students

Sumner College is hiring for a Dean of Students. Title: Dean of Students Supervisor: Vice President Job Summary: The Dean of Students is part of

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Joanna Russell visits with CW’s Everyday Northwest

President, Joanna Russell visited with Ashley Howard from CW's Everyday Northwest to discuss continuing education options in nursing.   [embed]https://youtu.be/2lMNewz-GeY[/embed]

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Celebrating Sumner Graduates | Meet Tiffany

At Sumner College, we like to celebrate our graduates. Tiffany is a recent PN grad. She shares her story, "Working as a phlebotomist at a plasma

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Heartwarming Stories of Nurses Who Went Beyond Their Call of Duty

Article and Image Content shared from Readers Digest. When it comes to kindness, compassion, and caring for others, nurses have us all beat. They work

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Heartwarming Stories of Nurses Who Went Beyond Their Call of Duty

Article and Image Content shared from Readers Digest. When it comes to kindness, compassion, and caring for others, nurses have us all beat. They work

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Heartwarming Stories of Nurses Who Went Beyond Their Call of Duty

Article and Image Content shared from Readers Digest. Image credit: COURTESY MARK SHIPMAN When it comes to kindness, compassion, and caring for others, nurses have

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Heartwarming Stories of Nurses Who Went Beyond Their Call of Duty

Article and Image Content shared from Readers Digest. When it comes to kindness, compassion, and caring for others, nurses have us all beat. They work

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Heartwarming Stories of Nurses Who Went Above and Beyond Their Call of Duty

Article and Image Content shared from Readers Digest. When it comes to kindness, compassion, and caring for others, nurses have us all beat. They work

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Personal Finance – Here’s How Much Money Phlebotomists Make In Every State In 2022

Phlebotomists perform an invaluable role in the medical world and beyond. They draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, and research, not to mention explaining to

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Sumner College Blood Drive

Last week Sumner College held a blood drive. Here are some photos from the day.

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Celebrating Sumner Graduates | Meet Sharon

At Sumner College, we like to celebrate our graduates. Sharon is a recent Medical Assisting grad. She shares her story, "Before enrolling in Sumner College’s

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Celebrating Sumner Graduates | Meet Patrick

At Sumner College, we like to celebrate our graduates. Patrick is a recent LPN grad. He shares his  story, "Prior to enrolling at Sumner College,

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

ALL IN: Johnson&Johnson WellBeing for Healthcare Campaign

ALL IN: WellBeing First for Healthcare is a call to action by #FirstRespondersFirst and The Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation as a coalition of leading

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Celebrating Sumner Graduates | Meet Lyric

At Sumner College, we like to celebrate our graduates. Lyric is a recent LPN grad. She shares her story, "Prior to attending Sumner College, I

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

#Hiring a Clinical Coordinator – Nursing Programs

JOB DESCRIPTION Position: Clinical Coordinator for Nursing Programs Supervisor: College President Job Description of Clinical Coordinator: The Clinical Coordinator is responsible for acquiring and maintaining clinical sites

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Sunday, May 7th is Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day from Sumner College!

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Celebrating Sumner Graduates | Meet Kaitlyn

At Sumner College, we like to celebrate our graduates. Kaitlyn is a recent LPN grad. She shares her story, "Wanting to expand my skills as

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Celebrating Sumner Graduates | Meet Julie

At Sumner College, we like to celebrate our graduates. Julie is a recent RN grad. She shares her story, "Prior to enrolling in Sumner College’s

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Now Hiring! Nurse Educator Associate Labs & Clinicals

Job Summary: The Nurse Educator Associate will teach, guide students in their labs and clinicals, along with enhancing the design of the curriculum. This person

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn