Staff Safety is Patient Safety
When staff are safe, they are better able to provide safe care to their patients. Conversely, when staff are unsafe or stressed, they are more likely to make mistakes, which can lead to patient harm.
There are a number of ways in which staff safety and patient safety are interconnected. For example:
- Staff safety can affect the quality of care that patients receive. When staff are feeling unsafe or stressed, they may be less likely to take the time to build relationships with patients, communicate effectively, or provide individualized care.
- Staff safety can affect the number of medical errors that occur. Studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8953540/) have shown that there is a link between nurse staffing ratios and patient safety outcomes. When nurses are overworked and fatigued, they are more likely to make mistakes.
- Staff safety can affect the spread of infection. When staff are not well-protected from infectious diseases, they are more likely to transmit those diseases to patients. There’s even a risk of getting infected by HIV, Hep B, and Hep C, due to sharps injuries – particularly if the sharp object was contaminated with bloodborne pathogens.
- Staff safety can affect the morale and productivity of staff. When staff feel safe and valued, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and provide better care to patients.
“If workers are safer in their jobs, patients will be safer also. Sometimes, the actions needed to improve patient safety are ones that would also improve worker safety. Procedures for avoiding needlesticks or limiting long work hours are aimed at protecting workers but can also protect patients. Thus, although worker safety is not the focus of this report, the committee believes that creating a safe environment for patients will go a long way in addressing issues of worker safety as well.” (Kohn, L. T., Corrigan, J., & Donaldson, M. S. (2000). To err is human: Building a safer health system. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.)
There are a number of things that healthcare organizations can do to improve staff safety and patient safety. These include:
- Ensuring adequate staffing levels. This means having enough staff on hand to meet the needs of patients, while also giving staff enough time to rest and recharge.
- Providing staff with the training and resources they need to do their jobs safely. This includes training on infection prevention and control, medication safety, and other safety protocols.
- Creating a culture of safety where staff feel comfortable reporting errors and near misses. This can be done by providing staff with support and confidentiality when they report incidents.
- Investing in safety equipment and technology. This includes things like safe patient handling devices, sharps safety devices like the BladeFlask Scalpel Blade Remover, and CheckCLIP medication labelling device that can help to reduce medication errors.
By taking steps to promote staff safety, healthcare organizations can create a safer and healthier workplace for their workers and ultimately, improve patient safety. If you’d like to discuss or learn more about staff safety, contact us at email@example.com.