A conference was held at the Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno on October 22, 2008 with an objective of teaching the audience how to find the leader in them. I should note that this event was the most informative and enlightening conference that I have ever attended. Stephanie Robinson, the first speaker of the conference, is the director of the Nursing Department of Fresno City College.
Robinson began her lecture by providing some statistical data regarding numerous topics including how medication errors are taking a toll on the hospital’s financial resources in terms of lawsuits, recovery fees, and other expenses that are associated with those errors. Unfortunately, these errors have caused hospitals to lose large amounts of money, and, in order for them to regain these losses, they started to take every measure necessary to reduce those costs and add it to their profit.
The measures that Robinson described included effective scheduling of the staff, preventive measures for medical errors, as well as a good, effective, and standardized patient charting. As a leader, it is the nurse’s responsibility to make sure that they chart every procedure done to and information about the patient. This will protect them against any liability issue that may arise, and to help them have a better charting documentation at the same time.
Another way of reducing medication problems is an idea that some of the nurse leaders have come up with, which include e-charting and medication dispensing machines with scanners and barcode technology. This would require nurses to double check their orders and the medications before giving it to the patients. All those statistical data that were presented demonstrated that all the errors committed were preventative, and they could dramatically be reduced if proper safety measures were taken. According to the speaker, education is the most important contributing factor to prevent these extra high costs.
As she was saying, we are all living in a digital world where we have access to many resources, yet our busy schedules and everyday problems would not let us research or attend any meetings. Here, the speaker used a very interesting example indicating that we use places such as airports, shopping malls, and even gas stations to provide healthcare and other health related information to people, but we refuse to take some time and provide basic education to our own people at their very own work places.
As responsible leaders, it is their duty to provide constant education to their staff. They are also required to observe the activities of their staff at all times. Again as the statistics show, the high number of preventable medical situations such as post operative infections, medication errors, and other complications happens in hospitals settings, and unfortunately these make hospitals look very unsafely and defeats their prime purpose, which is to heal and provide medical care.
We can use technology to provide education to our nurses, as well as to help them prevent these types of errors by developing better, more standardized, simple to use medical equipments, electronic order entry and charting, wireless and bar-coding systems, and other numerous ways. Again, she emphasized on the importance of having nurse leaders to provide constant, up-to-date education to help nurses and prevent future medical errors.
The second speaker was Pilar De La Cruz-Reyes and she pretty much continued where the last speaker left off by saying that just like any other place, nurses’ scope of practice will be regulated by the hospital and the board of registered nurses. The board defines registered nurses’ role as giving dependent and independent care such as providing safety, comfort, personal hygiene and protection to help patients go through their daily activity. By doing this, we would be able to know any normal and abnormal findings and use our logic to question anything that appears to be abnormal.
After attending this conference and having the chance to hear what the speakers had to say, I learned that being a nurse leader is a very important task in terms of providing the best care to patients, as well as the best education to the staff. I also learned that being a nurse automatically makes me a leader and this realization makes me feel obligated and responsible to everything that I do as a nurse. Lastly, I learned that being a patient advocate should always be my priority.