Nurses have always been taught that in Nursing, you can’t afford to commit mistakes; that perfection is the name of the game because they are dealing with HUMAN LIFE.

Nonetheless, nurses, no matter how logical they might think and act, are also human beings who do commit certain errors occasionally. Nurses seem to be more exposed than ever to making certain mistakes due to extended hours of their shift, heavier workloads, and often the replacement of experienced nurses by newly-trained and inexperienced young ones.

Nurses play the biggest role in patient care, but their overwhelming workload and the pace at which they are expected to perform may sometimes lead to errors that are, in some cases, irreversible or even fatal.

Fortunately, most of these errors are preventable, especially if nurses exercise great caution and always take the necessary precautions. The following are the top 7 Nursing errors and how to avoid them:

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  1. Medication Errors.

This is the most common mistake that nurses commit. According to the National Medication Errors Reporting Program, medication errors kill one person every day in the United States. Imagine how many lives will be saved if this error were to be completely eradicated.

In dispensing medication, nurses must remember the five ‘rights’ of medication administration and keep them in mind at all times: the right medication, the right patient, the right dose, the right time and the right route.

One primary cause of medication error is a distraction. Nurses must ensure that they have minimal distractions when administering medications and keep focused on the task at hand at all times. Also, do not hesitate to ask questions about the drug if you are in any doubt and most importantly, remember to double check ALL medication that is to be given before it is administered.

  1. Patient Falls.

It has been estimated that one out of three adults aged 65 years and above falls every year. Falls do not only cause many physiological effects, they also traumatize the patients, and cause them stress and anxiety.

Nurses can protect patients from falls by encouraging them to ask for help when getting out of bed, knowing the patients’ activities by checking on them often, and by utilizing protective measures such as non-slip socks, or bed alarms. If any patients do have a tendency to be restless of go walkabout all the time, all the more reason to secure them by raising the side rails of their beds. Rather safe than sorry.

  1. Infection.

Hand hygiene is one of the most vital practices in nursing. It is important in terms of gem protection and even for spreading infection. All equipment should always be disinfected or sterilized after any procedure or use. It is as important to practice aseptic technique and to properly clean equipment in a timely manner, to prevent the possible spread of infection as early as possible.

  1. Documentation Errors.

Keep in mind that in the nursing world, if it has not been written down or recorded in some way, it didn’t happen. Sometimes, this task is challenging because nurses have a lot of other things to do apart from charting, making notes and documenting all the events that have happened during the shift. But remember: If a patient contracts an injury, it could reveal neglect based on lack of documentation.

To prevent this common mistake, make sure that patients are monitored regularly and that every intervention you have made is documented, including the correct time. Also, report unusual events to the supervisor or nurse manager and of course, make 100% sure that you are documenting the appropriate patient.

  1. Body Mechanics.

This is common especially with new nurses who are generally eager to try out everything in their first week. Every nurse should know the correct and proper ways to transfer, carry or move patients from one place to another. Not being au fait with any of the above will not only injure you but will also endanger the patient’s life and maybe even put it at risk.

Bear in mind that when you lift someone, you have to lift with your legs and never with your back. You should never attempt this alone, but rather always ask somebody to help you out. Do every moment slowly but steadily. Though it takes a bit longer to get something done, at least you will not end up with an injured back. Or worse, with an injured patient.

  1. Equipment Injuries.

If any of the equipment that a nurse uses changes, or is modified in any way, it is vital that the nurses are aware of it in order to keep the patient- care environment constantly safe. It is the responsibility of the nurse to be well-informed with whatever changes there are on any equipment used.

To prevent injuries, ensure that all equipment has been examined properly and use them only as suggested. If you are at all unsure of how to use any equipment, rather ask for help than trying to figure it out on your own.

  1. Failure to Prioritize.

Through experience, nurses learn how to prioritize their tasks, and manage their time. It is most obvious as to what needs seeing to first, but for a newbie, it can all e a little overwhelming. Again, no nurse is an island. Ask for help and support if you are not sure how to prioritize. Nurses should never go out there alone, as nursing should always be done in collaboration.

Ask if you are not sure, delegate tasks if you need help and have a support system. Doing everything alone may lead to certain consequences that sometimes are fatal. This is to be avoided at all costs.

Nurses are human beings just like everyone else. They can make mistakes every now and then, but always learn new things along the way.

Errors like these are easily preventable as long as care is taken, and nurses are competent. Learn from this list, and help save lives every day!

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