Expectations for nurses in regards to patient care

When a patient is admitted to a hospital in North Carolina, it is reasonable to expect a certain level of care by the nurses staffed there. However, it can be difficult to differentiate between a less-than-stellar bedside manner and negligent nursing. The state’s Nurse Practice Act helps clarify a nurse’s professional obligations in order to provide the highest standard of care for each of their patients.

Some of the components include:

  • Assessing the patient’s overall health, including physical, emotional and mental, and accurately recording their findings
  • Creating a plan, initiating and implementing it, as well as teaching other staff members how to follow through on the plan; provide supervision, if necessary
  • Collaborate with other health care providers who are integral in the patient’s medical care
  • Give medications that have been prescribed through proper channels and record information that pertains to nursing duties performed
  • Report and document any changes and patient responses

Unfortunately, even a highly skilled nurse can make a mistake, leading to a patient being harmed. Overstaffing and working long hours can upset the quality of care and have detrimental effects.

According to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a higher number of patients under a nurse’s care resulted in a direct correlation to poorer quality of care and many of the components being neglected. Long hours and overtime also resulted in an increase in safety issues and a lower standard of care. Tired, over-worked medical professionals are more likely to make mistakes administering medications and using equipment, as well as improperly recording information and leaving tasks undone altogether than those who work shorter shifts and have more time to dedicate to each patient. 

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