Maintaining a safe clinical environment reflects the level of vigilance and compassion for the patient’s welfare, which is the fundamental aspect of a competent healthcare sector. Nurses must improve safety by learning the causes of errors and finding ways to integrate their knowledge in designing the systems that will reduce the effects of those errors (Institute of Medicine 78). Therefore, nurses must intensify their efforts to understand and change organizational components, conditions, and other processes of healthcare systems as they relate to patient safety.
When the clinical environment is enhanced and improved, nurses may attract new students to their fraternity and engage current professionals and practitioners to develop innovative models that will maintain safety and nurture more nurses for future generations. In fact, improving the clinical environment will enhance the safety and quality of patient care (Jones 41). The aim of this research paper is to discuss the importance of assessing and maintaining safety in the clinical environment and the role played by the nurses in assessing the clinical environment as well as importance of a safe clinical environment.
Clinical Environment and Safe Clinical Environment
Clinical environment refers to the place where medical services are provided and where the students may observe professionals provide patient care or where medical procedures occur (Dunn and Hansford 199). The clinical environment is usually at the heart of every medical education of undergraduate and postgraduate learners. The clinical environment offers a closer relationship between patient care and professionals. They interact through safety and quality care provision without compromising the health services provided (National Quality Forum 4).
A safe clinical environment ensures that there are no hazards in the surroundings, especially in healthcare facilities. For instance, healthcare facilities receive specimens that request clinical support and a variety of diagnoses. Therefore, the infectious nature of those clinical materials is unknown, and usually, the specimens are submitted with the request for microbiological examination for many agents. In that aspect, all those areas require special attention to protect the patients and the employees. Health practitioners are expected to observe safety when handling the patients and all the clinical materials that might cause re-infection (Spencer 591).
Clinical Environment Assessment
Assessment is an important component factor that should be considered in the clinical environment. Nurses use assessments to assist the trainees, who can develop and learn the procedures required in the healthcare sector. In addition, it provides evidence of the progress of the clinical environment and the competencies achieved in the presence of a safe environment (Miller and Archer 14). The nurse must consider the effectiveness and individual performance of the entire healthcare system. In addition, common obstacles that affect a safe clinical environment must be solved, such as risk-prone and complex systems that yield unintended consequences, lack of comprehensive written, verbal, and electronic communication systems, and lack of ownership for the safety of the patients (FooKune 7). Finally, nurses must consider their knowledge about system vulnerability and understand how skills and attitudes promote a safe clinical environment before they embark on the assessment.
Importance of a Safe Clinical Environment
A safe clinical environment is a cornerstone for the provision of high-quality healthcare. Much of the work that discusses patient safety and practices are aimed at providing a safe clinical environment for the patients and the nurses. If the clinical environment is unsafe, its negative outcomes include high mortality and morbidity rates. Therefore, it is imperative for nurses to enhance a safe clinical environment through coordination and surveillance of such factors that may bring adverse outcomes. A safe clinical environment is important because it evaluates the impacts of nursing care on the positive quality indicators, including appropriate self-care and other measures that improve the health status of the patients in the clinical environment (National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists 10).
Maintaining a Safe Clinical Environment
Clinical officers have a role to ensure that a safe clinical environment is maintained by providing a conducive environment that will enable the students to learn and practice nursing (Institute of Medicine 2a). Nurses offer the learners an opportunity to participate in patient care and develop a critical analysis that solves the problems arising in the clinical environment. In addition, nurses allocate the students and the preceptor to a patient caseload. The strategy is important in maintaining a safe clinical environment because the risk of students viewing nursing care as a technical task is minimized since they have a person to assist them in case of complications.
Therefore, the nurse plays a fundamental role in ensuring that the patient and the student learner enjoy a safe clinical environment. Finally, their role centers on sustaining and fostering a safety culture for the patients and families entrusted with their cases. Seven important sub-cultures are crucial within a safety culture, including teamwork, evidence-based care, learning, leadership, patient-centeredness, and justice (Reid and Dennison 5).
In essence, nurses are the center of patient care and essential drivers of a safe clinical environment. Therefore, the role of nurses is to maintain a safe clinical environment, which is the fundamental aspect of competent health care. They should improve safety by learning the causes of errors and designing systems that reduce the effects of those errors. A safe environment ensures hazards free health care facility, which enhances a safe interaction between the service providers and the patients.
When doing assessments, nurses must consider the effectiveness of individual performance and their knowledge about system vulnerability, their skills in promoting a safe clinical environment, and the operation of the healthcare system. Finally, nurses must ensure a safe clinical environment by providing a conducive environment that encourages reliable patient care. In addition, they should develop ways of dealing with unique problems that arise in the clinical environment.
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