Taking Time for Accuracy

The horror stories are out there:

“Surgeon amputates wrong leg!”

“Nurse gives medication to patient who was allergic!”

“Pharmacist mixes up dose three times safe limit!”

Hopefully, no one reading this post has been involved in any patient mixups that led to serious complications or the death of a patient. But the reality is…these things happen. And they usually happen because of one of two things, either 1) staff was rushed/in a hurry, or 2) people involved made assumptions about patient care.

Universal Protocol (UP) is our featured course for this week and last week, and the principle of UP is simple: Take the time for accuracy.

While UP focuses specifically on surgical procedures (which often cannot be reversed once performed), we should make it a point to recognize when we are rushed or making assumptions…then have our own mental “Time Out” to check the accuracy of what we are doing. We have things to check before we give meds, before we draw blood, before we transport an infant to/from the mother, etc. These things are meant to keep us and our patients safe from devastating errors; consider them a “help” instead of just a burden that takes up time.

The healthcare arena is full of incidents where things happen that should NOT happen, and often, we can become complacent, or just blame the “system” or coworkers for the incidents. On the contrary, we all bear a portion of the responsibility to ensure patient care for all patients is thorough and accurate.

Errors and sentinel events only lead to less time and energy left for patient care. Get it right the first time…your career and patients’ health and wellness depend on it!


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Byron Webb Romero, RN, MSN

Finished BSN at Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Master of Science in Nursing Major in Adult Health Nursing at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. Currently working at Manila Doctors College of Nursing as a Team Leader for Level I and II, Lecturer for Professional Nursing Subjects, and also a Clinical Instructor.

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