People who go to the hospital to seek care expect that they will be taken care of appropriately. They don’t expect that understaffing will be a problem, but it’s a serious issue that affects medical centers on a daily basis.
While some patients can receive adequate care despite the understaffing of nurses, the situation is a ticking time bomb. Understaffing is a major problem because nurses can become overwhelmed. Because the nurses are often working without breaks, fatigue and burnout can quickly set in.
Why is burnout an issue in the medical industry?
Burnout is a problem for approximately 33% of registered nurses who provide direct patient care in hospitals. Nurses who are overwhelmed and facing burnout may not be able to provide optimal patient care. This can lead to medication errors and other serious oversights that can lead to significant harm for patients.
The understaffing of hospitals means that nurses have long shifts and more frequent shifts than they’d have if the hospital is fully staffed. This doesn’t give the nurse a chance to unwind and rest before they’re back at work having to deal with potentially life-threatening situations with patients.
One of the primary issues that can occur when a nurse is suffering from burnout is that the nurse may miss signs that indicate a patient is having an issue that needs to be addressed. Nurses may also make errors that lead to patient harm.
Forgetfulness is also a problem with burnout. The nurse may not recall what a patient needs or specific information. While documentation can help to prevent errors related to forgetfulness, there’s a chance that immediate documentation won’t be possible due to an emergency situation.
Patients who suffer harm because of issues like understaffing in a hospital should ensure they get medical care. They may opt to pursue a compensation claim for the damages they’re dealing with. Time limits built into state law limit how long you have to get this filed, so work with someone familiar with these matters to get it done quickly.