Closing the Nurse Safety Gap
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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