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Closing the Nurse Safety Gap

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, April 17, 2012

The safety of nurses is always a hot topic, but there is a group that sometimes gets left behind in the discussions: nursing students. Last week, Mary Foley, PhD, RN, director at the Center for Nursing Research and Innovation at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing and a past ANA president, addressed this issue in her keynote speech at the 60th National Student Nurses Association convention in Pittsburgh.

The main theme of her keynote speech, she told HealthLeaders Media via email, "was to welcome the students to the profession of nursing, and to prepare them for what really is a marathon, and not a sprint, through the career that nursing provides them." Foley used the platform to introduce them to the Safe in Common campaign, which she says is "designed to promote up-to-date education about needlestick and sharp injuries."

Foley is also chairperson of the healthcare worker safety nonprofit Safe in Common, which just launched a new Needlestick Safety Advocacy national tour and education campaign.

Foley says aside from educational programs from the ANA and now, Safe in Common, she doesn’t see much novel work happening "on the ground" when it comes to improving nurse safety. But she hopes that "the increased knowledge of the risks and the re-energized focus will go a long way to protect nurses and students."

She adds that reducing needlestick and sharp injury exposures requires the cooperation of healthcare professionals, purchasers, employers, and manufacturers.

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1 comments on "Closing the Nurse Safety Gap"


Anonymous (4/18/2012 at 2:21 PM)
Culture of safety in my hospital certainly does not apply to nurses when they are sometimes attacked by intoxicated patients who come to our ER. Apparently, intoxication is an excusable "medical condition" that is somehow acceptable without consequences for this behavior. I wonder how acceptable it would be if the same intoxicated person attacked or punched an innocent bystander in a public place outside of the hospital setting. Certainly more needs to be done to protect medical staff.