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When it comes to healthcare, there’s no disputing that patient safety should be a top priority at all times. However, given the sheer volume of patients, in comparison to staffing shortages, it’s hardly surprising that mistakes can be made.

If you’re new to the nursing scene and still learning the ropes in regards to your role, then read our handy guide to promote patient safety!

1. Make sure your patients are on the same page as you in terms of their safety

​Educating patients on everything from proper prescription use and storage to dietary restrictions is one of the most effective ways to promote patient safety.

Make sure your patients are aware of the dangers of misusing whatever prescription medication you have given them and let them know exactly what they need to do when they leave the hospital. Not only will it help them to feel more confident returning home, but it will also reduce the likelihood of them revisiting the hospital.

2. Take your time when following patient care proceedures

​Although nurses need to be quick on their feet, it’s important to remember that speed doesn’t always equate to efficiency when performing tasks. Slow down and ensure that you’re following all the standard procedures when inserting catheters or chest tubes. These are two of the most common scenarios where patient safety can improve, so brush up on your skillset and make sure your work is done correctly. 

3. Maintain an immaculate hygiene standard

​It should go without saying that hospitals must be clean at all times. However, in the rush to get things done, it’s easy to overlook cleanliness procedures. From nurses coughing into their hands to someone forgetting to disinfect something, germs can easily spread. In a setting where people are already sick and vulnerable, this can be a deadly mistake. It’s not only important to make sure that your hands are clean but to pay close attention to disinfecting your patients’ skin and anything that will come in contact with them. Keep an eye on your colleagues too. We could all use a friendly reminder to do or not to do something that may have become a bad habit.

4. Remember that in order to take care of others, you must first look after yourself

​Perhaps the most essential way to promote patient safety is to practice self-care. If you feel that you’re working too many hours or caring for too many patients at one time, you should address the issue with your line manager to determine what reasonable adjustments can be made to ease your workload.

The most important thing to remember is that although you won’t always have control over the fast-paced nature of your role, you ultimately have autonomy over your own self-care. Finding a way to avoid burn-out will improve patient safety, which means that if you’re taking care of yourself, you’ll have an easier time treating your patients. There are many strategies you can use to avoid burnout, such as breathing exercises, staying hydrated and following a healthy diet. 

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