It takes strong dedication to be a hospital nurse. The majority work long shifts, with hours that go into the double digits, dealing with lack of sleep and heavy workloads, all while trying to provide patients with the best care possible. The hospital work culture can – and often does – leads to errors that can ultimately put a nurse’s license at risk.
Hospital Work Culture
Several years ago, the Vickie Milazzo Institute in Houston conducted a survey of nurses throughout the country. The results found that most of them were overworked and stressed, as well as feeling underutilized and underappreciated.
More than half of the nurses surveyed said that the shifts they work make it impossible to get enough sleep during the week. Between the double-digit shift hours and the on-call availability they are required to work, it is not uncommon for a nurse to pull a 24-hour or even a 36-hour shift.
These types of hours also leave nurses little time to eat properly, with almost 80 percent of those surveyed saying they do not eat well.
Ninety percent of those surveyed also complained about not being able to be effective in their work because they are dealing with a lack of support staff, as well as indifferent superiors. And 75 percent feel they do not have enough authority. If a patient is having a crisis and there is no doctor available, nurses do not have the authority to make critical decisions – even if it means saving the patient’s life. In situations where a nurse does make that critical decision, they face the risk of reprimand or stricter penalties, including loss of their job.
Risk to Patients
Multiple studies – including from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – have warned that when nurses at a facility are overworked, and there are understaffing issues, patients are at high risk. This type of work environment, coupled with an already stressful job, also leads to high rates of nursing burnout. This too, puts patients at risk of suffering injury from medical errors and/or poor medical care. When a hospital fails to provide enough nursing staff for both the nurses and the patients, it is impossible for those nurses to provide those patients with the standard of care they deserve.
Although it is hospital administrators who are responsible for ensuring there are enough nurses to provide that care, it is the nurses themselves who suffer the legal consequences and possible loss of license when events happen that could have been prevented with sufficient staffing.
Contact an Illinois Professional License Defense Lawyer
If you are a nurse who is facing disciplinary charges, make sure you have a dedicated Illinois nursing license defense attorney advocating for you. Call The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC at 630-310-1267 to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help.