Temp ER Nurses a Safety Threat to Patients, Study Shows

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , August 30, 2011

That alone is not enough, she says. Temporary staff needs to know they have the support of management. "Sometimes temporary nurses tell me 'I go into an organization and nobody talks to me.' There is the reason why the nurses are going to have an error, because they are afraid to ask a question," Papa says. "We have to embrace temporary nurses and help them and be their life line. There should be a charge nurse or a supervisor ready so that if the temporary nurse could say 'I am not familiar with this' or 'I don't know your policy on this,' they are ready to help."

And it's not just the temporary nurses, Papa says.

"You can take a nurse from the same hospital and move [him or her] from the ICU to the post-anesthesia unit and they still need to have a different type of orientation because the equipment and the style of patient is different. It's important that the organizations recognize this. Proper mentoring and supervisions are critical," she said. 

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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