SURVEY: Nurses, short staffing and patient safety.

  1. Survey question: Have you worked short staffed to the point that patient safety was compromised?

    Brian Short
    WORLDWIDE NURSE: The Internet's Nursing Directory

    [This message has been edited by bshort (edited March 04, 2000).]
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    About Brian, ADN

    Joined: Mar '98; Posts: 15,431; Likes: 16,404 founder; from US
    Specialty: 18+ year(s) of experience in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele


  3. by   michael1969
    I've noticed in some of your posts that the issues regarding patient safety have included "unliscensed assistive personel". I for one am a registered nursing assistant and a student nurse. I hope that you are not referring to cna's as "assistive personel". Cna's go to school to learn how to perform thier jobs and so long as they operate within the constraints of thier certificates provide an invaluable service to both patient and licensed nurse. Many times it is the cna that catches skin problems and gets treatment started.
    We might be "unlicesened but we provide a vital function for patient welfare and safety.
    I apoligize if this sounds as if I'm standing on a soapbox but I see so many nurses put cna'''s down but could not function without us aand it severely aggravates me.

    Thank you for your time michael

    Michael J. Owens
  4. by   Canrckid

    No one means to underestimate the help that "unlicensed" assistive personnel can provide to the RN's in the care of their patients. What we are referring to, is the practice of some hospitals and healthcare facilities to decrease the actual number of RN's involved in direct patient care and REPLACE them with assistive personnel that may/may not have formalized training.......all to save money. There is a definate place for CNA's at the bedside, and they often CAN be the first to pick up on a developing problems and bring them to the attention of the RN.
    I for one feel that the development of a new patient care model that incorporates assistive pernonnel can go a long way towards
    providing quality patient care cost-effectively. Thanks for all your support!


  5. by   mindyleigh
    I am a Registerd Medical Assitant. I was trained at an accredited school.
    I agree with the fact that improperly educated personell can be harmful to patients care and that any "unlicensed" employees MUST operate within the constraints of their abilities.
    Michael posted in his reply to this discussion that RN's and other ceritfied persons have "put down" those of us who either are happy with being unlicensed, or whom are in school to earn there RN ect. I have not found that to be true. Out of all the hospitals and clinics I have worked in the RN's and other personell appreciate the fact that I operated in the capacity that I was trained. I never once had any "put downs" from an RN. And, being trained in phlebotomy, I am quite good at finding those ever elusive veins, and was called upon by many seasoned RN's to start IVs.
    I have more clinial skills, knowledge of medications and training than our LVN does. However, if I was to go to one of the local hospitals and they required me to monitor someone in ICU due to lack of funding for staffing, this would be out of the constraints of my qualifications.
    I am sure that at some point and time hospitals will be required to have all personell that assist in patient care to have some sort of formal training. I am confident that the majority of RN's out there are quite glad to not have to do dressing changes. I can understand the complaint about non trained individuals preforming vital patient care, due to "money issues". This is unacceptble on the hospitals part.

    Mindy Baker RMA/NCT/BAT
  6. by   Rene'
    I just discovered this site. It's great!!!!
    When you are going through staffing problems
    you think you and your colleagues are the
    only ones. I saw the note about Sylvia
    Johnson; that's great! I e-mailed her. What
    do we need to do to convince her it's a
    worthwhile topic? Also, it's true about joining your state associations....I just
    joined the Florida Nurses Association with
    the goal of getting into the legislative
    end of nursing. Anything I can do to help,
    just post it or e-mail me at
  7. by   barton
    Hi Rene,

    Thanks for posting! I hope that you will write/e-mail the ANA and legislators re: nurse/patient ratios and getting more licensed personnel at the bedside!

    During your next meeting with the FNA, would you ask if they're doing anything about these issues? With all the posts I've read, I can't believe that understaffing is a SECRET to anyone in nursing!-------And.....I don't understand why it has been going on for so long without remedy.

    If you can get answers from them about these questions and/or other issues, would you post the info here for the rest of us?



  8. by   RN2begin
    I believe what he is referring to here as assistive "unlicensed" personnel is what my employer (a state psychiatric hospital) calls "Mental Health Workers". It is an unwritten expectation that MHW's perform all of the tasks of a CNA/LNA...except they aren't licensed to do so. The hospital does not hire LNA/CNA's, nor do they acknowledge your certification as an LNA/CNA, if you are a MHW. An MHW is much cheaper to employ...300 MHW's actually are much, much cheaper than employing "licensed" personnel (LNA/CNA's). I have notified our state board of nursing related to such as most MHW's, through no fault of their own, not only lack CNA/LNA skills...they lack medical knowledge (precautions, MRSA, C. diff, etc)...and receive no education from the hospital. Patient care is always in jeopardy...but they are mentally one will admit that that is the reason...but you will NEVER find unlicensed personnel hooking up your O2 or providing catheter care in a "medical" hospital...something to think about...
  9. by   RN2begin
    Quote from brian
    Survey question: Have you worked short staffed to the point that patient safety was compromised?

    Brian Short
    WORLDWIDE NURSE: The Internet's Nursing Directory

    [This message has been edited by bshort (edited March 04, 2000).]
    Just about every shift...people have no idea about the state of our mental health hospitals...if they did, something would have to be done...and as long as the "mentally ill" are out of sight...the problem is solved...even if we are putting beds in the hallways to make room.