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How to Avoid Usual Nursing Errors

Nurses tend to form the closest bonds with patients. On many occasions, a patient’s life depends on them. But, nurses are also human beings and can make mistakes. That’s no problem. However, it is important to highlight that errors made by nurses can have adverse effects on a patient’s health and his/her life can even be endangered if care is not properly taken.

Nurses spend many hours studying and are usually well prepared. However, lack of experience, nerves, pressure, long and heavy working hours can alter their concentration and make them more liable to make mistakes. Here are some tips on how nurses can prevent faults during work:

    • Errors recording a patient’s information: All data related to drugs, medication, family history and current conditions should be carefully recorded. Any modifications of the patient’s status as well as updated and proposed steps, prescriptions and medical activities should also be cautiously registered.

    • Unwanted patient incidents: Nurses can facilitate communication with patients and their families. It is also good practice to do regular patient check-ups year round and to highlight to patients that nurses are available if they need anything. Forcing themselves to do something that is contraindicated given their condition can be minimized with proactive communication. Patients should be advised to call for immediate assistance if it is required.

    • Mistaking medications: In order to prevent giving inadequate medications at the wrong times, wrong doses to a patient, or even worse, to the incorrect patient, it is strongly suggested that nurses´ concentration should be the highest when working. Sometimes this can be very difficult especially when the nurse is having personal issues. To help them focus and remember patient names, using patient´s labels or identifiers are good tricks. Also, it is important to check and recheck any allergies or any special health conditions the patient may have.

    • Allowing infections in: Always keeping good hygiene practices and ask everyone around to do the same is an important way to keep infections under control. Also, washing and disinfecting all working areas will help to prevent microbes like viruses and fungi from developing and spreading.

    • Not relieving stress: Nursing is a very stressful profession. Keeping healthy diets, avoiding smoking, exercising regularly and even practicing meditation or yoga are healthy ways nurses can deal with tension generated by work.

It is a good technique to ask as many questions as needed to elucidate unclear situations. Pharmacists, co-workers, patients and their families should be able to provide you with useful information when you’re in doubt. Educating yourself can help prevent mistakes that could adversely affect the health of a person under your medical care and attention.

A patient-centered attitude whereby a nurse respects and values a patient’s preferences and requests allows for a better relationship and in turn leads to better and faster health improvement.

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