Mike, a lab technician, has occasionally been running late considering that this is not the first time it is happening. Considering this, Mikes supervisor issued him a warning that could result in termination. Despite his love for the job, it is also what he depends on to provide for his family. As his custom, Mike arrives to work only to find a spill on the reception lobby's floor. However, to clean up the spill would only delay the time he is to report to work, which could result in his termination. Although this is not part of his job description, he feels the urge to clean up even though there is an assigned staff who can handle the cleaning. This finds him in a conundrum.
Consequences of a Failure to Report
In the case Mike decides to report the problem, then there are numerous incidents that could be avoided and, as such, the hospital's safety prioritized. He can call his supervisor and explain his lateness if he cleans up. However, this option terrifies him as he could lose his job. On the other hand, failure to report the situation only means that the assigned person will clean up. Since he does not want to risk his job, he proceeds to work ignoring the spill.
There are adverse consequences as a result of Mike's failure to report, and particularly to patients. Mike finds out that one of his patients fell at the lobby and is in pain. The fall caused the patient a hip injury. On learning this, Mike realizes the consequences of his action, which makes him feel guilty. As a result, he feels like admitting to seeing the spill and ignoring it when he arrived at the lobby, however, his admission could also result in his termination.
Impact of Mikes decision
Had Mike reported the spill, then safety would have prevented an incident such as what happened to one of a patient he was attending. However, had cleaned up the spill, he could have informed his supervisor and make up for the time by working a longer shift to compensate the time.
Supposing Mike ignores the spill, safety then becomes compromised resulting in incidents such as falling. A fall can lead to an individual's pain and suffering causing him or her limited body function and great social distress. The healthcare facility, on the other hand, will suffer financial losses due to the resources they will use to treat injuries caused by the establishment. According to Jorgensen (2011), healthcare providers use this as an incentive to implement safety.
Failure to report or clean up the spill could consequently result in legal issues for both Mike and the healthcare facility. Not only could he lose his job, but also sued for damages by the injured individual considering a hospital or any other similar establishment has to observe due diligence by providing a safe working environment.
The quality metrics of the establishment are affected given that the public expects hospitals to be among the safest places since they provide health services. Additionally, customer loyalty and trust is lost since customer expectations are not met like in the case of the injured patient.
The workload of other departments increases due to Mikes decision considering that the increase of such incidents creates an increased need for healthcare. Any injury will need the treatment and increased nursing care meaning that both doctors and nurses workload will increase.
Recommendations Regarding the Issue
For a start, creating awareness in regards to personal responsibility would be effective. All hospital staff has a responsibility to keep the environment in which they work safe, for themselves as well as the general public. Ensuring the floors are dry ought to be equally important as ensuring a patient has been provided with the right treatment or medication.
It is vital that critical thinking is applied when assessing situations. For instance, Mike valued his job more than the spill. Despite the importance of rules, professionals ought to make rational decisions by questioning themselves on the best way to handle a situation. If orders and protocols are blindly followed, an organization and the stakeholders are bound to lose. Through the use of real cases, options and ideas can be brainstormed to achieve critical thinking, which would enable professionals such as Mike to make more informed decisions. According to Lockwood (2005), open discussions should be encouraged.
Taking responsibility for one's actions is another way through which patient safety can be ensured. In a case where a professional fails to play his role accordingly in ensuring safety, he or she ought to take responsibility for the outcome since each organization has its guidelines on how to deal with the involved party. The World Health Organization (2015) emphasizes on punishments in cases where a professional fails to play his or her assigned role accordingly. By so doing, the staff will be encouraged to report dangerous incidents that could result in injuries. This is not to say that punishments be used as a plan of correction, it will, however, discourage such cases by instilling fear to the other staff.
Jorgensen, J. (2011). Best Practices for Falls Reduction: A Practical Guide. American Nurse Today, 6(3), 151-156.
Lockwood, W. (2015, Sept). Critical Thinking in Nursing: Decision-making and Problem-solving. Retrieved from http://www.rn.org/courses/coursematerial-251.pdf.
World Health Organization;. (2015). Understanding and Managing Clinical Risk. Retrieved Sept 10, 2015, from WHO Safety Curriculum: http://www.who.int/patientsafety/education/curriculum/who_mc_topic-6.pdf.
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