Possible nursing shortages raise patient safety concerns

April 2, 2019 | Crandall & Pera Law
Possible nursing shortages raise patient safety concerns

Demand for nurses is going up in Ohio and other parts of the country. At the same time, there is a lot of turnover in this field, with a fair number of licensed nurses opting not to work in nursing. This raises the possibility of significant nursing shortages.

There are many problems that can come with such shortages. This includes patient safety problems. Proper staffing levels at hospitals is key to quality care. When hospitals allow themselves to become understaffed, such as not having enough nurses, the odds of serious medical errors can greatly increase.

So, how hospitals respond to potential nurse shortages is a critical issue.

Among the things it is important for hospitals to avoid in such responses are measures that could make the situation worse. Examples include practices or policies that could increase nurse burnout. Overworked and overstressed nurses could be more likely to make mistakes. Also, nurses who are feeling burned out may be more likely to leave the field. This could potentially further deepen shortages.

One practice that some argue can contribute to upped feelings of burnout among nurses is mandatory overtime. There is currently a proposal in Ohio to ban this practice in the state. Do you think this legislation should be passed?

What would you most like to see hospitals do to respond to potential shortages and avoid staffing situations that could endanger patient safety?

When hospitals let staffing issues lead to poor patient care, patients can suffer serious harm. Victims of medical errors resulting from missteps by hospital may be able to pursue relief through medical malpractice claims.