That sounds like an ethical dilemma to me. It sounds like it's become expected that if it's too busy, you just let the policy and procedure slide. If policy is to do the assessment and most staff are not doing them, in the state I come from that's a reportable issue, I think. But I'm new, too, and tend to err on the side of caution. Do you think the boss knows you let the assessments go if you're too busy? Shouldn't they consider adding staff so the job can be done right? (Am I terribly naive?
I've had to raise an ethical question in the past and I did it with much fear and trembling. I first asked one of the more senior staff and then asked another one. The first was curt and dismissive and the other thanked me for bringing the issue to her attention and promised to look into it. I did my research before I brought it up to make sure that it really was something that might put patients at risk, and that the way it was being done was advised against in the literature. I don't think it was ever changed, and I eventually relaxed about it myself, because our situation was kind of unique and bending the rules sort of made sense in our case (I think! I hope!). But it was a really good learning experience. I found out that I had the courage to stand up for what I felt was right even though it could have cost me. If someone is harmed by ignoring approved policies and procedures, there isn't any defense, is there? Is it worth it? What would it mean if someone got caught? (Reprimanded? Fired? Loss of license? Lawsuit?) In the case of my example, other nurses had questioned the practice in their own minds, too, but never thought to raise the issue. I found out how easy it is for unapproved or risky practices to become accepted because "everybody does it." I think we should be free enough to say, "Hey, I don't think this is right!" without fear of negative consequences.