Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business


Have you ever headed somewhere and took a shortcut only to wind up taking more time than had you taken the original route?

Well, the same is true in nursing. Some nurses take shortcuts to expedite their work load. Shortcuts can include pre-documenting, medication administration, setting up medications early or even ordering items well before the physician arrives because you are sure the doctor will order it.

All of these are very dangerous practices. I have represented nurses who asked nursing students to administer medications. There have been nurses working the emergency room who start an IV, order blood work and x-rays for patients if the physician is too busy. And I’ve had nurses who pre-chart their medication administrations leading to the wrong medications being given to the patient.

All of these are very dangerous practices. Although you may not have an issue now but believe me, it will eventually catch up to you. The reason why these standards are practiced is to prevent problems and to protect patients. If you have the nurse aide administer medications that end up going to the wrong patient, then you have a problem. If the doctor did not want the IV, labs and x-rays ordered, that’s your problem! And if you pre-chart and the patient gets transferred, then that too is a problem for you.

Even though you may think shortcuts like these will save you time, just like taking a shortcut on the roadway, you can actually cause yourself more problems than if you would have gone the routine way in the first place.

If you are busy and don’t feel like you can complete your work in a timely manner, ask for help. It is much safer for you and definitely much safer for the patient.

Are you taking shortcuts in your practice? If you are, commit yourself NOW to practice the proper way so that your job and license will not be put in jeopardy.

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