Nursing Shortage May Lead to More Medical Malpractice Claims
Many places across the United States are struggling to find workers to care for the country’s growing elderly population. Luckily, statistics show that Florida is not one of them. Florida’s staffing levels currently exceed the national average for staffing. The nurse hours per resident per day is 4.55 in Florida and the national average is only 4.05. Only four states average more hours than the Sunshine State.
On the other hand, hospitals in Florida are struggling to find adequate nurse staffing. Nurses demonstrated in front of four hospitals to raise awareness for what they claim are unsafe staffing ratios. Another growing shortage is the number of doctors that are practicing in Florida, especially in the areas of urology, nephrology, ophthalmology, and thoracic surgery.
Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t seem to have any end in sight. The Bureau of Labor Statistic projects that 526,800 additional nurses will be needed by 2022 and the U.S. will need as many as 90,000 more physicians by 2025.
What is the Problem with Nursing Shortages?
Due to the nursing shortage, nurses are often required to work long hours under stressful conditions. This can result in fatigue and injuries. Nurses working in these environments are also more likely to make medical errors and mistakes. The outcome is poor patient care with issues such as medication errors and higher mortality rates.
Even though most nurses work hard to fulfill their duties and provide the best patient care possible, working under such conditions can result in nurses who are too tired to do their jobs, which can result in medical malpractice. More and more frequently, we are seeing nurses in the center of malpractice instead of doctors.
What is Nursing Malpractice?
Nurses may fail to do things that they should do like check on their patient as often as they need to, or they may do things they shouldn’t, like yell at their patient. While these things aren’t good, they don’t necessarily constitute medical, or in this case, nursing malpractice.
To be medical, or nursing, malpractice, four things need to be present:
- Duty – A nurse has a duty to act reasonably for the duties of his or her job.
- Breach of Duty – Failing to act in a manner as a reasonable nurse would in a situation creates a breach of duty.
- Damages – When the patient is injured or harmed this results in damages.
- Causation – There must be a direct link between the nurse’s breach of duty and the injury or harm that the patient suffered.
While nursing malpractice can take many different forms, some of the most common forms include medication errors, injuring patients with a piece of equipment, acting against doctor orders, failing to monitor a patient as needed, and physical abuse.
When to Call a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured or harmed due to the negligence or lack of care of a nurse or other medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation. The Boca Raton attorneys at Leifer Law Firm can review your case and determine if filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is an option. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.