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Nursing shortages put patients at risk

If your child's teacher gets sick and can't teach, the school calls in a substitute. If the fry cook at the local fast food eatery calls in, the manager either finds someone to man the grill or dons an apron himself and does the job.

But if a couple of nurses miss their shifts due to illness, most of the time their fellow nurses carry their patient load. That can be highly dangerous for the patients and cause a high degree of burnout for the nurses pulling double-duty.

Why are overburdened nurses expected to take on more than is expected of those in other industries where no lives hang in the balance?

The quality of care has to decrease when nurses' patient loads increase. It's simply not possible to pay the same attention to detail with seven critically ill patients if you are supposed to be responsible for the care of four.

The issue of nursing shortages is not unique to Louisville but is prevalent throughout the United States. It causes staff morale to dip and can force competent, qualified nurses to reevaluate their career goals. No one wants to be the nurse who made the fatal medical error due to short-staffing.

If you suspect that a loved one died, or that your recovery was complicated due to negligence on the part of the nursing staff, you may possibly have a legitimate case to file a malpractice lawsuit in the Kentucky civil court system. However, it is vital to act swiftly in these matters, as cases will proscribe if litigation is not timely filed.

Source: KevinMD.com, "We are not taking care of nurses. Who will heal the healers?," Michael Kirsch, MD, accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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