Workarounds and Their Implications for Patient Safety
Nursing workaround has gained prominence in the past 15 years because of transformation that has been brought about by the practice. Nursing professionals have affirmed that workaround is a method by which nursing practitioners can effectively accomplish tasks when the usual way may not be working well (Cima etal, 2012). These are methods capable of providing temporary solutions to problems though may also point out to symptoms that may be associated with nursing systems and in the process, suggests necessary improvement. An example of a workaround in nursing practice was when regular insulin was administered instead of Humalog as was ordered. This means that Pyxis system had to be overridden so as to obtain Humulin which is regular insulin because of considerable delay in the Humalog medication occasioned by Pyxis profiling.
Workaround was used with good intentions because it aided provision of medication to the patient quickly thereby saving life and time. The practice is supported by medical specialists as they affirm that it presents positive benefits and rewards that are usually immediate thereby promoting convenience in patient handling, ensuring comfort and saves time (Cima etal, 2012). However, the practice when used regularly may negatively affect patient safety because of risk behaviors associated with it. It has been established that errors occurs because of variations and inconsistencies in usage occasioned by different people using them (Cima etal, 2012). Risks associated with workarounds in nursing practice include wrong drug administration, wrong dosage, wrong medication route and poor patient data documentation.
Current patient safety characteristics at workplace entail empowering professionals so as they may stop and question issues when patient safety is seemingly wrong. Moreover, clinical worksite is characterized by increased awareness on risks that may jeopardize patient safety and promotes continuous learning so as to improve on weak areas. However, there are several aspects that need to be changed for example, patient identification in cases that armband barcodes are damaged, promote patient-nurse communication and improve on system accountability. Strategies that can be used to initiate change include comprehensive organization self-assessment and creating awareness on the risky behaviors that may jeopardize patient safety and confidentiality.
Cima, L., Clarke, S., & Joint Commission Resources, Inc. (2012). The nurse’s role in medication
safety. Oakbrook Terrace, Ill: Joint Commission Resources.