The nurses broke protocol. The nurses wore too many gloves. The
nurses made mistakes. It’s always the same story. Something goes wrong and the first response is to blame the nurses. They didn’t follow procedures. They were careless. They, They, They.
When will hospital administrators, health care leaders, regulators and the media develop even a little sophistication? Errors happen for so many reasons that it is nonsensical to single out
nurses when they do. Adverse events occur because institutions are lacking procedural safeguards. They happen because the organizations in which nurses work do not account for human limitations in workflow. They happen because systems are designed without redundancy. Errors in nursing practice are a reflection of insufficient staffing, unrealistic assignments, inadequate equipment and supplies, punitive cultures, and dozens of other contributing factors. They are rarely a consequence of carelessness or purposeful misconduct.
Nurses are some of the hardest working and most committed professionals in this country. They have always been exposed to deadly diseases and violence but they come to work anyway. Nursing can be a dangerous work. It deserves respect, support, and gratitude. Blaming the front line providers as an initial reaction to anything is inaccurate, counterproductive, offensive and outdated. Although it is predictable that we would see the nurses blamed for a systemic lack of preparedness, it is still discouraging. Don’t put up with it. Call people out when they go there. We deserve better.