Various techniques of risk assessment can drastically improve patient outcomes. Since the health care providers use complicated recording and analysis systems, the chance for a mistake or a near-miss is high both during the care process itself and the associated managerial activities.
These risks can be mitigated by implementing a near-miss reporting system into the organization. Near-misses are defined as “an event/situation in which a negative outcome could have occurred but did not, either by chance or because the problem was identified and corrected before a negative outcome occurred” (Crane et al., 2015). The occurrence of such situations indicates the flaws in the workflow of the organization. If they go unreported, they can occur again and result in actual damage to the patients. The reporting system ensures that the problems are noticed by the management, and the potential threats are removed.
However, the reporting itself is useless if the organization is not ready to change itself accordingly. It is important for the health care providers to maintain the Learning Organization mentality. It means being ready to constantly improve their ability to provide the customers with the best service possible by modifying their approach (Sharp, Hides, & Bamber, 2000). This stance can improve all of the aspects of the organization, but it is especially beneficial to the health care providers who are working to support patient safety. By taking the feedback both from the customers and employees, the management can form comprehensive development strategies and quickly resolve any critical issues on the fly.
The most important part of maintaining this approach is keeping the right mindset. Traditionalist management, which rejects changes simply because they do not fit their rigid views of the health organization, will shut down any attempts to create an adaptive and responsive organization capable of resolving safety issues quickly and efficiently.
The advancement of medical and communication technologies has created new possibilities to improve and revolutionize patient care. Smartphones and tracking systems allow the patient to stay in touch with the health care providers constantly while new diagnostic equipment and treatment procedures drastically improve patient outcomes in cases that would have been hopeless just a decade ago. However, the nurses have to understand these changes and be able to utilize the technology efficiently.
The nurses are responsible for continuing their education constantly (Stubenrauch, 2010). In order to improve the patient outcomes and provide safe and efficient care, the nurses must investigate all of the aspects of the emergent technologies. Simply learning to operate a new device or administer a new treatment is not enough. Without the proper understanding of the science behind the advancement, the nurse will not be able to identify potential issues or analyze the patient feedback.
Another liability the nurses have is to get involved in the implementation of the new technology. Since the nurses work with the equipment and the patients directly, they are able to provide valuable feedback. It is extremely important to do so since the new technology tends to present various issues and complications in the real-world environment. Counteracting those downsides can lead to the improved quality and safety of the patient care. By providing feedback and collaborating with other medical professionals and equipment manufacturers, the nurses can help realize the full potential of the new technology (Niemeier & Suchomski, 2011).
The technological progress can improve the patient outcomes drastically. It is the responsibility of the nurses to ensure that the new changes are implemented efficiently and can be utilized to provide high-quality health care.
The acute care setting can be especially demanding on the nurses when it comes to the ethical decisions. Since the patients are often unconscious, unresponsive, or irrational in this setting, the choice needs to be made without any feedback or discussion.
The basics of the ethical nursing behavior are the same in any field of work. The ICN outline these principles in their code, underlining the importance of being respectful of the patient’s desires, providing adequate information for the informed decision-making and spreading awareness of the detected issues (ICN, 2012). These points are rather self-evident and expand on the basic goals of the nursing practice such as delivering high-quality care, alleviating the suffering and improvement of the health care delivery procedures.
However, the acute care environment presents some unique challenges for the nurses. Since the patients can be unresponsive or in a great deal of pain which prevents adequate reasoning, it falls to the medical professionals to decide the course of action. The primary goal of acute care is to provide adequate medical service and ensure positive health outcomes. However, it is also important to keep in mind that the US laws guarantee the patient the right to refuse treatment even if it results in death. Following the patient’s desires is also a high priority goal of the nursing practice.
The patient might have made his preference known in advance. If a person states that they do not want to be resuscitated in a legally binding paper, it falls to the emergency team to make the final decision and face its consequences (Sokol, McFadzean, Dickson, & Whitaker, 2011). Since the acute care patients are often in a mentally unstable condition, it is also important to assess their ability to reason before following their requests.
The emergency care setting is challenging for the nurses since they become a part of morally questionable decisions and must choose the best course of action on the fly while taking it consideration a diverse set of factors which affect the patient.
Crane, S., Sloane, P., Elder, N., Cohen, L., Laughtenschlaeger, N., Walsh, K., & Zimmerman, S. (2015). Reporting and Using Near-miss Events to Improve Patient Safety in Diverse Primary Care Practices: A Collaborative Approach to Learning from Our Mistakes. The Journal Of The American Board Of Family Medicine, 28(4), 452-460.
ICN. (2012). Code of Ethics for Nurses. Geneva, Switzerland: ICN.
Niemeier, S., & Suchomski, R. (2011). Nurses & Technology Guidelines to Integration in Nursing Practice. Web.
Sharp, J.M., Hides, M.T., & Bamber C.J. (2000). Continuous Organizational Learning through the Development of High Performance Teams. 1st International Conference on Systems Thinking in Management, S2-S7.
Sokol, D., McFadzean, W., Dickson, W., & Whitaker, I. (2011). Ethical dilemmas in the acute setting: a framework for clinicians. BMJ, 343(2), d5528-d5528.
Stubenrauch, J.M. (2010). Report on the future of nursing. American Journal of Nursing, 110(12), 21-22.