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Tom Sharon
Never assume the hospital is operating the way it should!


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Staying Safe on a Hospital Floor

Certain errors that can endanger patients are relatively common in the management of a medical or surgical hospital floor. The key to avoiding many of these dangers is never to assume that the hospital management is operating the floor the way it should. That would be like buying a used car and driving it at high speeds without first testing the brakes. Find out how well the administrators are managing the area by making some basic inquiries. The most important questions that you (as the patient or concerned family member or friend) need to pose when arriving for the first time on a typical hospital floor are as follows:

  • How far away is the patient from the nurses' station?
  • Does the floor have all the necessary equipment and supplies and are the machines in good working order?
  • Who is in charge of the nursing care?
  • Who is in charge of the nurses?
  • What is the nurse-to-patient ratio (how many patients does each nurse have to take care of)?
  • What is the patient acuity on this floor (how sick are the other patients by comparison)?
  • Who is the attending physician and how involved will he or she be in the patient's case?
  • Who is actually going to write the patient's orders?
  • Who are the specialists on call?

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