Temp ED nurses a safety threat to patients, study shows

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

August 31, 2011

Temporary emergency department (ED) nurses who are unfamiliar with their surroundings may inadvertently be a threat to the patients they serve, according to new research from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The study found that the temporary help was twice as likely as permanent staff to be involved in medication errors in the hectic and fast-paced environs of the ED. However, the study's authors stressed that temporary nurses should not necessarily be blamed for those shortcomings, which the researchers said are complex and diffuse.

"A place that uses a lot of temporary staff may have more quality of care issues in general," study leader Julius Cuong Pham, MD, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a media release. "It may not be the temporary staff that causes those errors but a function of the whole system."

Source: HealthLeaders Media