As nurses, our primary concern is ensuring the safety of our patients, but we don’t start out knowing the best way to accomplish that mission. Nursing schools across the country play a critical role in teaching the next generation of nurses how to ensure and advocate for patient safety. Patient safety awareness encompasses many areas and our mission at Galen College of Nursing is to make sure our students are well prepared to address the safety concerns of their patients.
Galen utilizes the Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals in our clinical learning labs so that students can make connections between particular situations and patient safety. The 2016 National Patient Safety Goals cover a wide variety of settings and include the following areas:
- Identify patients correctly
- Improve staff communication
- Use medicines safely
- Use alarms safely
- Prevent infection
- Prevent mistakes in surgery
- Prevent patients from falling
- Identify patient safety risks
- Prevent bed sores
We teach our students that patient safety impacts everyone. From their very first nursing course, students begin learning the principles of patient safety. During bedside scenarios and simulations, students practice safe patient care based on the National Patient Safety Goals. Students begin with the basics: identifying the patient, addressing falls risk, proper hand hygiene, and medication administration safety. Then we build upon this foundation in our other nursing courses as students investigate ways to keep their patients safe in all types of settings and situations. Galen students explore a number of other concepts directly related to patient safety such as healthcare-associated infections, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication, learning the role each of these areas plays in maintaining patient safety.
Patient safety is emphasized throughout the college as we prepare students to meet the challenges of today’s complicated healthcare system. As nurses, we are on the frontline and can make a difference in establishing and maintaining a culture of safety for our patients and at our workplaces. We are all patients! Join us in making the pledge to keep our patients safe.