Dear Nurse Beth,
I was an OR circulator for a hospital with six ORs for nine years. I left town for a while and when I came back I had the opportunity to work at a small specialty surgery center. The similar pay, no nights/weekends/call made me say yes to the new job.
My problem is, six months later, that despite my speaking to the manager, speaking in staff meetings, and speaking to the staff, errors keep being made. The serious kind. Wrong site on consent forms. Wrong name on chart or on schedule. Wrong side said in time-out. Some of the staff and the docs seem very casual about this, and don't seem to see the need to do better.
I get the feeling I should shut up. I'm afraid this is an accident waiting to happen, and I don't really want to be a part of it. I have started looking for another job. Am I over reacting??
Dear Accident Waiting to Happen,
You are not over-reacting. You have been trained to expect a certain level of safety and it causes moral distress when you are pretty much told to accept the status quo and high level of mistakes as the norm.
Most likely there are multiple reasons for this culture. New employees "sink to the norm" as a coping mechanism when they watch others' behavior and come to understand the "real" rules. Poorly trained managers do not have skills and the support of administration to do the right thing. Managers are given responsibility but not authority. Doctors are allowed to practice outside of guidelines and best-practice.
By contrast, safe organizations (or High Reliability Organizations) focus on error prevention and defer to front-line staff as experts. There is a focus on errors, as in a sense of urgency around near-misses, rather than a sense of complacence.
You are wise to leave and not be a part of some unfortunate if not sentinel events that are bound to happen.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
Look at your nurse practice act. You have a duty to report. Hopefully, you created a paper trail with emails, etc. Like the other comment recommended, report to state since you did not get an appropriate response, internally. If Joint Commission, report. Or it could be other certifying agency. Your duty to protect patients does not end with reporting to management.You keep going until you get action. I am speaking from experience.
Last edit by rnpatrick on Aug 13
: Reason: Correct error