Understaffing is a serious problem in hospitals and could put patients’ lives at risk. Understaffing, when it leads to errors, injuries and deaths, can also be considered a type of medical malpractice.
There are many safety implications of understaffing. According to a study released in 2021, personnel understaffing was linked to near misses and safety consequences and is a chronic issue in the nursing profession.
What makes staff shortages so dangerous?
According to the results of the research, personnel understaffing increased the use of safety workarounds, which made it more likely for near misses to occur. Cognitive failures, such as errors due to being “stretched too thin” in the workplace, were also increased when understaffing was a problem.
Chronic understaffing means that nurses and medical providers are working with a greater number of patients within a limited amount of time. They may try to take shortcuts to get the job done, but there is also an increase in stress that may result in memory lapses and poor attention.
These issues lead to an increased risk of errors and injuries, which can put patients’ lives at risk.
Understaffing may lead to many problems, such as the misdiagnosis of a medical condition, forgetting to give patients their medications or giving patients medications too often. Rushing to perform tasks may result in unhygienic conditions caused by forgetting to use gloves or reusing equipment that has not been sterilized between patients.
There is no excuse for poor quality care, even if the facility is understaffed. If you have been hurt as a result of understaffing, you may have a malpractice case.