Repeat After Me: A Suggestion to Help Reduce Medical Errors

There’s a lot of talk today about including patients as members of the healthcare team.This is supposed to help avoid medical errors and injuries and make patient care more about the health of the patient rather than the convenience of their caregivers or the financial well-being of the institutions which care for them.

There’s a lot of talk about including patients in their own care but what about action?In my experience as both patient and observer, there’s not enough in this regard.Take the issue of medication errors.In my experience, doctors and nurses don’t take enough time to thoroughly go over details about the medications they are giving and how they should be taken. Here are just two examples – one from my own experience.

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The Trouble With Smiles

Nursing has been infected with smilitis.  Go into any hospital, and check the pictures on the walls.  Hospitals often use pictures of nurses to promote the institution.  Trouble is, the nurses are always smiling.  Doctors look serious, with serious looks on their face, because they know something serious.  Nurses, on the other hand, are used to convey an impression of coziness and comfort.  Although patients actually find comfort in the fact that the people who are taking care of them actually KNOW what they are doing, hospitals and a lot of nursing organizations seem to ignore this and focus on the sentimental value of the nurse.

Check out nursing websites and what you often find are hearts and smiles.  Like for example, Johnson and Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future. Smiling nurses greet you on every page.

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