Thursday, August 6, 2009

Duty of Care

I love being a nurse. I love the fact that what I do makes a difference to patients and their families. I love not sitting at a desk all day. I love chatting to people. But today I didn't like being a nurse.

We were understaffed and without a manager. We had no wardsupport officer and were also down one nurse. I don't mind when the ward is busy & you're flat out. But when patient care begins to suffer that's when mistakes occur.

I left my shift at 330 feeling like a lot of things weren't done and my patient's did not get the care they deserve. 4 patient's didn't have their blood pressures taken, 1 lady doesn't have a callbell to press for the nurse when needed & one didn't get a shower.

At uni we were taught about duty of care and that at the end of the day I as a registered nurse am responsible for those 4 (or 5 or 6 depending on staff numbers) patient's. But when you're fighting the odds, and are 3 staff down and have done all that you can, is that good enough? At the end of the day it's my registration on the line if (God-forbid) anything were to go wrong.

In a perfect world we would never be shortstaffed. But with an aging workforce & nurses that are exhausted and nurses that are quitting left right and centre, I don't see the nurse shortage getting better anytime soon.
What can we do to ensure patient's are getting the care they deserve?