Temporary ER Workers May Lead to Drug Errors
by Johns Hopkins indicates that temporary emergency room workers pose a safety risk to the patients they are meant to help. In light of the national nursing shortage, many facilities hire temporary nursing staff to fill in their scheduling holes. But short-term staff members are associated with sometimes severe hospital drug mistakes.
Newswise.com reported on the study which indicates that more hospitals are resorting to temporary staff because it is a cheaper option. Temporary staff members are often unfamiliar with care management systems, protocols, and procedures which can vary between facilities. This can lead to break downs in communication which can impact patients. While short-term staff may have the medical knowledge, they may not be able to apply it in every individual setting.
In unfamiliar settings where they cannot easily access information, temporary workers are more likely to make a drug mistake
. Patients who are given the wrong drug by a short-term staff member are more likely to suffer from life-threatening reactions as the mistake may not be documented and it may take longer to identify what happened. Emergency room medicine carries an increased risk of drug errors to begin with as the limited time frame in which to treat a condition often requires a bypass of the normal pharmacy fail safes.
To a Florida drug error lawyer, using temporary staff seems a dangerous and potentially more costly decision than hiring a full time employee. The first thing a doctor or nurse learns is the principle to do no harm. Putting patients at risk seems to be the opposite.