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Study links nurses’ mental health to medical errors

Nurses in Indianapolis and across the country play a critical role in the delivery of health care. They are often the first and last face a patient sees when they are receiving medical care. Because of the demands of their careers, some nurses become unhealthy, overworked, tired and depressed. They struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance. 

According to a study posted on MedicalXpress.com, medical errors are more likely to occur when nurses are tired, depressed and in poor health. Nurses perform a variety of tasks to ensure that patients get the quality and scope of care they need. When nurses become unhealthy, unhappy and depressed, the quality of their work diminishes. They are less likely to stay alert while they deal with patients. Common types of medical errors that can occur are: 

  •        Wrong medication administration
  •        Not identifying fall risk patients
  •        Failure to document patient information accurately
  •        Mixing up patients 

Poor mental and physical health affect 54 percent of nurses, states HealthMedia Leaders. Nurses often spend so much of their time caring for others that they fail to take care of themselves. They often put their own health and needs on the back burner. 

Nurses who are depressed may not have access to or the time to seek out resources to improve their mental health. They may also lack the support they need from their employers, coworkers and family. Nurses should assess their lifestyles and work cultures to determine where they may be lacking so they can take measures to improve their own health and well-being. When they are of sound mind and health, they can provide patients with the proper medical care and support they require.

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