"When that coalition works together to educate about better equipment and safer work practices, and devices available are better designed to provide…passive protection whenever possible [meaning the worker does not have to consciously activate any safety features because the safety is built in] then there will be improvements," she says.
HealthLeaders Media caught up with Foley via email to discuss ways student nurses can stay safe at work, as well as the strides—and struggles—around nursing safety in general.
HLM: Is safety a different issue for student nurses? In what ways?
Foley: Safety isn't really on their minds. They are so focused on taking good care of their patients, and learning everything they can, that they put themselves second. The faculty are also not as attuned to the health risks to the professional, and they too are focused on the patient, which is a good thing, but not when the students aren't adequately prepared to be safe themselves.
HLM: How can student nurses be safer at work?
Foley: Students often have to learn about the health and safety issues from professional sources, such as the American Nurses Association, and now, Safe in Common. I am really glad I was able to introduce that to them in my talk. I highlighted Safe in Common and the risk of needlestick and sharps injuries, as well as the Safe Patient Handling campaign that ANA has launched to prevent back injury.