Patient safety is a critical issue in healthcare. The Institute of Medicine estimates up to 98,000 hopitalized patients die annually as a result if medical error. Nurses serve as a hospital unit's twenty-four hour surveillance team. Assesment of patient condition, evaluation of physician orders, administration of medications, and supervision of patient activity are all safety functions which fall within the nurse's scope of practice. Health care organizations have introduced a variety of technological upgrades and structural changes in an effort to encourage a system, or root cause, approach to error reduction. However, these changes have failed to provide an adequate reduction in error. Because nurses play an integral role in patient safety, the solution may lie within the work of the nurses.
Date of this Version