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Closing the Nurse Safety Gap

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

HLM: Are nurses safer now than they were 20 years ago? Why or why not?
Foley: Yes, in the area of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, there have been improvements over [the] last 20 years. But there are still risks, even with the safer devices that are on the market. Other risks, such as back injury, exposure to chemicals, and violence in the workplace remain as serious concerns.


HLM: What are the major challenges to nursing safety at the moment? What are you especially worried about?
Foley:  I am most worried about the fact that health and safety of the workforce is not a priority at this time in healthcare. Only patient safety initiatives are getting the time and attention of leaders, and I believe a true culture of safety requires care of the workforce and the patient. I know nursing continues to focus on injuries due to patient lifting and positioning, and I am particularly concerned with violence in the workplace as a relatively unaddressed issue. Of course, I am committed to addressing exposures to bloodborne pathogens, which has been improved, but not entirely addressed so far.


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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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.