How Nurses Keep You Safe During Your Hospital Stay

From admission to discharge, your safety is priority

How Nurses Keep You Safe During Your Hospital Stay

During your hospitalization, your nurse is the primary member of your caregiver team who will monitor your safety – from admission to discharge.

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At Cleveland Clinic, nurses follow a Professional Practice Model focused on providing quality care in a safe environment. Your nurse keeps a close eye on your care to identify risks related to any potential patient safety issues such as medication use, infection control, surgery and anesthesia, medical equipment, and more – and takes steps to control these risks.

Your safety: what to expect

Whether your hospital stay is within the Heart & Vascular Institute (HVI) or another institute, here are a few ways your nurses will help ensure your safety:

1. Technology use for patient identification and needs.

Hospitals that have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) have an advantage by seeing the full picture of the patient from the moment they step in the door. Whether you enter the hospital through the emergency department or are directly admitted, the information identifying you – name, birthdate, medications, allergies, risks, medical conditions – is immediately entered into your electronic medical record .

No matter where you go – from laboratory to operating room – your information goes with you. Your nurse uses technology to continuously ensure you get the right care, at the right time, from the right caregiver.

For example, when taking a medication, the EMR accompanies a barcode scanner that scans your ID band to ensure proper administration. Or, when needed for a procedure, your nurse notes it in the EMR and verbally explains your course of care to you, your family and the technician.

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2. Standardized processes and protocols.

All nursing units have standardized processes and protocols designed to create safe care environments. These include infection control and fall prevention, among others. Upon admission, your nurse will review these with you.

To aid with infection control, for example, your nurse will wash his or her hands when entering or leaving your room or wear gloves or masks for procedures like blood draws and IV/catheter insertions or removals.

For HVI patients who often receive medications that can lower blood pressure, heart nurses spend extra time educating on how to prevent falls. You will be asked to wear non-skid, slip-resistant socks and your nurse may instruct you to allow extra time sitting bedside before standing, use your call light for assistance, or sleep with your bedrails up.

3. Effective, ongoing communication to coordinate care.

Your nurse is not only your caregiver, but your advocate and communicator. Throughout your stay, he or she will continually communicate with you, your family and your care team.

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When discussing medication, for example, your nurse will explain why you are taking it, side effects and more. If you have taken the medication before, your heart nurse may ask you to describe the medication to him or her to make sure that you know how to take your medications at home.

Your nurse will also conduct hourly patient rounding, checking on you every hour (two hours at night), asking about pain levels and more to better anticipate your needs, assist you and ensure your safety.

Additionally, at any caregiver or shift change, your nurse will review your care plan with you, your family and the new caregiver to successfully transition your care.

You play an important role in your safety

While your nurses are trained to help keep you safe during your hospital stay, as a patient, you play an important role. Follow safety instructions and speak up. Ask questions and offer feedback.

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