Recently, I had surgery. I am fine, but it was an eye opener. I have been a nurse just shy of 20 years. Being on the other side of the bed made me realize a few things. Nurses are trained to keep the patient safe, but safety is everyone’s responsibility. Here are some steps you can take as a patient that keep you safe.
Call lights: There are call lights in your room and bathroom. Keep the call light within reaching distance so that you are able to call for help if needed
Wrist band identification: Once you are admitted, the staff will place an ID band on your wrist. This ID band is used to verify who you are to the staff. This is a huge safety measure. Make sure that staff verify your ID band prior to tests and medications.
Falls: If the staff believe that you are a fall risk, there will be steps to ensure your safety. Remember to call for help if you feel light-headed, sleepy or dizzy. If you are not sure of yourself, call!
Prevention of infections: Staff will take measures to reduce the risk of infection. Staff should be washing their hands when entering and leaving your room. Remember to wash your hands as well.
Medications: Be informed. Ask what medications you are taking and what they are for. Ask about interactions and side effects. Keep a list of your medications, dosages, frequency and the reason why you are taking the medication even after you are discharged.
Hopefully, if you are ever a patient, your stay will be short. Remember that safety is everyone’s responsibility. Be informed!