Nurses play a crucial role in the treatment and management of patients. However, it is not uncommon for these unsung heroes of the health care professional to complain of fatigue, stress and being overworked.
The responsibilities associated with being a nurse are strenuous. These professionals work long, grueling hours interacting with the doctors, patients and colleagues in an extremely emotional and chaotic work environment. As a result, they are likely to suffer from fatigue and burnout, making them extremely vulnerable to making costly mistakes while on duty.
So why do nurses get burnout?
Generally, most nurses work 12-hour shifts. Health care facilities have different rules regarding work hours, and some may not provide their staff adequate breaks. Besides, it is not uncommon for a nurse to pick up extra shifts without getting adequate rest. While working extra hours can be beneficial both to the hospital and the nurse, it could pose a serious risk to the patients, especially those who need specialized care.
Sometimes, a nurse may have too many patients under their care and thus unable to pay full attention to each patient as they ought to. Nurses who are working in traumatic settings like accident emergencies are also likely to be emotionally exhausted.
Medical errors nurses are likely to make while exhausted
Exhausted nurses are likely to suffer physical, cognitive and emotional problems. As a result, they are likely to make the following medical errors while attending to patients:
- Administering the wrong medication or dosage
- Failing to recognize or notify the doctor of an emergency
- Failing to feed the patient
While some of these errors may seem benign, they could have serious implications on the patient’s recovery. For instance, if the nurse administers the wrong dosage to the patient, they could develop complications that may end in a fatality.
Nurses who are overwhelmed by long work hours are likely to make errors while attending to patients. Find out the legal actions you can take if you or someone you love is a victim of medical malpractice.