How And Why Nurses Get Overworked, Overwhelmed, And Undersupported — And What This Means For Your Health

Nursing isn’t for the faint of heart. This admirable, but challenging profession can take both a physical and mental toll on hardworking nurses, who often lack the support they so desperately need. In turn, patients suffer worse health outcomes. Hence, the urgent need for the medical profession to address the following issues in modern nursing: Excessive Hours Nurses work long hours, often remaining within medical facilities long after their twelve-hour shifts have technically ended. Grueling schedules are especially common among newly-licensed nurses, with research from the New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing suggesting that over half work voluntary…

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Unexpected Emergency Room Dangers

The ER should be a place of refuge, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case in far too many hospitals, where patients are vulnerable to a whole host of surprising hazards. Infection Emergency rooms are breeding grounds for bacteria, making patients with already compromised immune systems that much more vulnerable to infection. A study of long-term care facility residents published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal revealed that five percent of those who visited emergency rooms acquired new infections. Surgical site infections (SSI) are especially common in the ER. While these infections occasionally only prompt mild irritation, some are serious…

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How Other Countries Handle Doctor And Hospital Negligence

Medical negligence is an international reality, but it looks considerably different from one country to the next. Certain types of negligence, for example, are more prevalent in some regions than others. When such behavior leads to legal action, malpractice claims may be handled differently based on local legislation. A thorough understanding of these disparities is critical not only when traveling, but also in understanding medical malpractice at home — and how targeted changes could produce better outcomes in hospitals and in court. Medical Malpractice’s Link to Health Care Quality The World Health Organization regards the prevalence of medical malpractice litigation…

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What Happens When an EMT Makes a Medical Error Or Commits Negligence?

Medical negligence is typically associated with doctors, nurses, and other hospital-based professionals. Often, however, the most devastating acts of negligence occur long before patients reach the emergency room. Like any medical professional deemed responsible for patient suffering, EMTs can be held liable. Unfortunately, patients often struggle to prove negligence, as evidence surrounding EMT activity is often murky, at best. Common Types of EMT Negligence EMT negligence can take many forms. Some errors may prompt immediate damage, while others may impact later treatment efforts among doctors and nurses. Key mistakes include: Delays in arrival prompted by dispatch errors. Failure to check…

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How Power Outages and Natural Disasters Interrupt Hospital Operations

Hospitals are far more vulnerable than they appear. Even a brief power outage can place patients at risk. Below, we highlight a few examples of the perils prompted by natural disasters and accidental outages: The Peril of Natural Disasters Hurricane Katrina serves as a particularly notable example of the havoc natural disasters can wreak on otherwise reliable hospitals. Many survivors recall the terrors that overtook medical professionals and patients alike as floodwaters approached Memorial Medical Center, where the power was quickly knocked out — and where temperatures soon exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Eventually, staff members were forced to evacuate patients…

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A Basic Checklist For Getting the Attention You Need in the Emergency Room

While TV shows make emergency room scenarios seem fast-paced, real-life visits to the ER may involve a surprising amount of waiting. Between wait times and slow treatments, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the average patient spends a full two hours in the emergency room. During that time, many patients feel all but invisible. Doctors may be too rushed and too frenzied to respond appropriately to their concerns. This is no time to give up, however. The following tips will help you gain the attention you so desperately need at this critical time: Don’t Minimize…

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Common Obstacles to Accessing Health Care Records — And How to Deal With Them

From medical malpractice cases to sheer curiosity, a variety of situations and circumstances may prompt you to seek access to critical health care records. Unfortunately, these can prove surprisingly difficult to obtain — even when the need for access is urgent. Below, we highlight a few obstacles you may face along the way, as well as viable solutions: Noncompliance With HIPAA And Other Regulations A variety of rules and regulations promise to improve patient access to medical records, but far too many hospitals and clinics remain noncompliant. Many patients are never informed of their rights under the Health Insurance Portability…

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Dealing With Health Anxiety After a Bad Experience With a Doctor Or Nurse

Visiting the doctor may not be a delightful experience, but it should, at minimum, be tolerable. If you’re like many patients, however, you dread annual physicals and other necessary appointments. This fear may stem from negative past experiences, which likely have left you feeling anxious about return trips. Outright avoidance is not a viable solution, however. Visiting the doctor is akin to maintenance on your vehicle; by stopping by regularly, you can avoid greater problems down the road. For the sake of your health, it is critical that you address your medical anxiety as soon as possible. These suggestions should…

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Practicing Medicine While Distracted: How Ubiquitous Cell Phone Use Impacts Health Practitioners And Places You at Risk — Part 2

Distraction is a big deal in the health care industry. In the first portion of this two-part series, we delved into the many ways in which constant technological distractions can impact doctors, nurses, and other health care workers — and how patients are negatively impacted by this problem. Now, we highlight potential solutions capable of mitigating the constant sense of distraction pervading the health care industry. Switching to Job-Exclusive Devices Mobile devices provide considerable value throughout the medical field. Simply abandoning them is not a realistic option. That being said, many steps can be taken to reduce associated distractions. Sticking…

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Practicing Medicine While Distracted: How Ubiquitous Cell Phone Use Impacts Health Practitioners And Places You at Risk — Part 1

Mobile devices are increasingly prominent in health care settings, where doctors and nurses increasingly use iPads to update patient information or access critical records. But while mobile devices can dramatically improve health care efficiency, they hold several notable drawbacks. Chief among these? Distraction. In this two-part series, we will explore the alarming role distraction and cell phone use play in the modern health care industry — and how this issue can be addressed. Health Care Workers Are Vulnerable to Distraction It’s no secret that distraction impacts our performance in a variety of arenas. On the road, for example, cell phone…

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