….patient safety is not recession proof!! I use to think that professionals in the business of taking care of the sick are not affected by the economic downturns. While healthcare may experience the impact much later than most businesses, the survey conducted by ISMP has shown the trickle effects of the recession in our industry and weakened patient safety net.
In healthcare, facilities everywhere are cutting back, patients are delaying treatments until they are much sicker, patient care staff are cut back, there is a hiring freeze, we are experiencing shortage on equipment and medications due to purchasing cutbacks, and the list goes on.To make matters worse, economists predict the worst may be yet to come as reimbursement tightens and financial burdens of patients requiring treatment worsens. Ok, I get that leaders in many healthcare organizations are required to make the cuts to financially survive, but I would like to believe that these same leaders will fight and plan to maintain patient safety in doing so and not at the expense of it.
On the flip side, I can’t help but empathize with nursing colleagues who are dealing with the cuts. The pressures to perform under these working conditions can only lead to poor outcomes. Nurses are known to be resourceful and we can always find ways to carry out our tasks and responsibilities and not put the patients at risk. Gone are the days when working fast is often perceived as being efficient. We are humans and not perfect.Under these circumstances, let us not forget that safety checks and systems are in place for a reason. So for our own protection and for our patient’s safety, let’s take the time to do it right, after all our actions are the only thing we can still control.