March 2, 2021
Though the general areas of high risk for nurses have remained relatively constant, some specific risks have changed over the years because of changes in health care settings, systems, and practices. Today’s patients require complex care and management. New risks have emerged from changing work processes, expanded settings of care, equipment use, medication, and new technology and communication systems. Patients with increased age and medical complexity as well as diversity in language and cultural considerations add new dimensions to nursing care. New and refined diagnoses and the ever-increasing number of diagnostic treatment options present new challenges.
According to the program for the 2019 Annual National Meeting for Critical Care Nurses, several risk-related topics are at the forefront for attendees: integrating research and evidence-based practices into daily practice, delirium management, diagnostic reasoning, sepsis, and new point-of-care technologies, among others. These topics are consistent with current larger cultural discussions of patient safety, errors, harm, and nurse liability.
Given the historical liability risks noted above and the ever-changing health care environment, there are five general categories of risk for registered nurses, which are explored in detail in the full article: general risks to patient safety; medication-related risks; risks related to communication, collaboration, and care management; risks resulting from failure to assess, recognize change in condition, monitor, and/or treat; and documentation-related risks, including use of new technologies.
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