Nursing:How a Bill Becomes a Law
Currently, increased rate of medical errors in health care providing centers is posing a serious global public health issue. The issue concerns the safety of patients while receiving care from healthcare providers in the clinical settings. Patients die in the United States each year as a result if adverse effects of medical errors. A report that was given by the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on Quality of Care in America indicated that medical errors contributing to adverse events in the healthcare facilities mounted up to approximately 3%. 10% of this adverse events are reported to cause patient deaths. The number is suspected to be even higher as most deaths that occur as adverse events of medical errors end up not being recorded. Medical errors are rated to be the third leading cause of deaths in the United States after heart diseases and cancer, but the clinicians are not ready to consent. Most of this medical errors are preventable if only patients’ rights would be advocated for through legislation.
Legislative mechanism of dealing with errors is the best approach to widely discipline professional mistakes ensuring patient safety is upheld in the medical sector. Development and reinforcement of policies and laws that govern medical errors will solve the crisis. The goal of the laws will be to ensure caregivers who are involved in medical errors are held accountable for their mistakes. The involved patient will also need compensation for the adverse events that he or she would have gone through (Healy, 2016). All the preventable harms that happen to the patients caused by all healthcare providers in the course of administering clinical services must be taken care of by the law.
One of the core functions that nurses play in the healthcare system is to advocate for the general well-being of the patients, patient safety being on the forefront. Unfortunately, most nurses do not put the role of being patient advocates into practice mostly because they don’t understand the right channels to follow. They perceive politics has no part to play in the healthcare sector hence end up not being involved in policy making and reinforcement, even on matters pertaining health. In most instances, they shun political arena claiming it is a field meant for politicians. However, the truth dawns on them when policies concerning healthcare sector are implemented and reinforced by politicians who do not understand the operations in the sector. As a result, the policies have hinges on the operations in the industry when they are applied. It will be more beneficial and applicable if the caregivers are involved in policy development touching on health issues. Hence need for the caregivers, nurses being core caregivers, to learn about the legislative process of making laws.
Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 was one of the related laws that were enacted aiming to increase the quality of care. Since then the occurrence of medical errors is still reported raising a need for more laws to be developed and reinforced. Despite the development of disclosure laws in the nation that encouraged adoption of the culture of reporting medical errors in hospitals, adverse events based on preventable medical errors are on the rise (Guillod, 2014). The disclosure laws were meant to increase patient safety by enabling the caregivers to learn from own mistakes without being judged. This has not been the case hence raising the need to add laws addressing the agenda of patient safety.
Increased human error during the practice has increased the funds allocated towards the treatment of adverse events that result from medical errors (Bogner, 2018). The main stalk holders advocating for the bill of patients’ safety include patients, nurses, other healthcare staff, taxpayers and hospitals in general. Safe standards set will be more beneficial to patients as they will receive quality care leading to the improved outcome. Nurses and other caregivers will be cautious while in the practice improving the aspect of care. Taxpayers will benefit in that improved care of patients lowers the costs of care. Hospitals may incur extra costs to pay their staff because of their improved work but the reputation of those facilities will be high attracting more patients.
Health care issues can only come to the attention of law when there are concerns that are raised by the interested parties. The parties can be the patients themselves, the patient advocates involving nurses or the associations concerned with patient safety. Most of the medical errors that have been raised are resolved locally. This leaves a majority of the medical errors not identified and even dealt with by the existing laws.
Identification of points that medical errors occur is crucial. This can be achieved through holding discussions with appropriate individuals, patients and caregivers on the ground being the major stakeholders. This is referred to as developing the idea. Some of the identified causes of preventable medical errors include: system break down, miscommunication and reporting of patient information on top of wrong medication.
The nurses can influence the quality of care and safety of patients in the healthcare structure through lobbying. By joining the other lobbyists, they should be able to push for this agenda in the legislation. They can also use experts in the field of law such as lawyers who are familiar with the legislative processes (Zander, 2015). The patients also need to be informed on the matter to participate actively and report any case of medical errors to be followed on. Though this the level of quality of care will be expected to better.
Bogner, M. S. (2018). Human error in medicine. CRC Press.
Guillod, O. (2014). Medical error disclosure and patient safety: legal aspects. Journal of public
health research, 2(3).
Healy, J. (2016). Improving health care safety and quality: reluctant regulators. Routledge.
Zander, M. (2015). The law-making process. Bloomsbury Publishing.