Nurses Professional Duty to Report Concerns from the Workplace Which Put the Safety of People in Your Care or the Public at Risk
`Nurses, have a professional duty to report any concerns from the workplace which put the safety of people in your care or the public at risk’, (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2010). Report writing plays a big part in maintaining the safety of patients and staff, along with documenting events as they happened. It enables staff members to create short, medium and long term objectives which can be carried out within the workplace to ensure safety if an incident occurs. Also what should be included within a formal report and the reasons behind them will be explored and finally the aspect of whistle blowing will be looked at in more detail.
When a possible situation of abuse has occurred upon a patient in the ward environment, there are a number of goals that are put into place to ensure safety. A full list of goals can be found in appendix one. The goals which are to be set have to be SMART, which means that they are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time framed (Richmond A, 2002). Short term goals are put into place and should be carried out straight away, an example is to remove a suspected abuser away from the victim. This is important because it will help the victim feel safer, along with preventing the reported abuse from re-occurring. A medium term goal would be to inform the nurse, or staff member, making the report that they may have to write a statement about the incident. By informing them in advance it enable the staff member to seek advice from their union to help them complete a statement which is written in the correct format and containing the relevant information it needs to. This is because all members of staff are advised to be under a union just in case these situations surface and are able to `consult with their union’ (Longstaff C, 2002) for help on. Finally a long term goal would include maintaining the wards morale. This is essential because if morale drops then they are likely to `do the minimum necessary to get by’ (Stanton, A, 2009) and patient care is affected negatively by this.
When writing a statement involving an incident within the workplace on another member of staff there are a number of things that need to be included within the statement. However it is essential to remember that when writing a statement it is a legal document so all information included within it is accurate and nothing is just assumed. For a full list of things which need to be included can be found in appendix two and are based on the guidelines set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2010). An important thing to remember whilst writing a statement is not to include jargon which includes medical terms and abbreviations. This is because statements are meant to be written in terms that `the patient or client can easily understand’ (Siviter B, 2008) enables even non-medical personal to understand the point which is been made. This includes the use of abbreviations as some people that read the statement might mistake it to mean something completely different than the actual meaning. Overall it is essential that everything that is covered within the statement is in the exact order in which they occurred on the day. By doing this is ensures that nothing is forgotten or left out which could affect the case in a negative way purely because it was accidently left out of the statement.
Whistle blowing is a term for when `an employee raises concerns to people who have the power and presumed willingness to take corrective action’ (BMA, 2009). As with everything there are both good and bad points surrounding the area of whistle blowing and the people involved within its process. In order to help their members the Royal College of Nursing as a trade union have launched a whistle blowing phone line in order to help their members through the process of reporting an incident (RCN, 2009). One good point is that through the process of whistle blowing the concern involved, be it a case of abuse on a patient for example, is addressed and can be dealt with efficiently and effectively in the correct manner. In order to help protect the whistle blower from bullying or discrimination resulting from their participation, every trust within the Nation Health Service (NHS) have their own guidelines and policies on whistle blowing for their staff to access and follow. However from looking at different trusts policies on the topic of whistle blowing all seem to have one main statement. This is that `staff must raise the matter when it is just a concern, rather than wait for proof or investigate the matter themselves’ (NHS Direct, 2008). This is to help ensure the safety of the staff member who is reporting the incident and so that the incident is not compromised why them doing their own investigations into it. The main bad point which contributes to preventing nurses from whistle blowing is the feeling that they will be `victimised by their colleagues’ (Royal College of Nursing, 2009) afterwards. This has a negative effect as they will be less likely to report people in the first place as they will be worried about the after effects of their actions.
In conclusion the first thing which is done when an incident is reported by a member of staff is the formulation of short, medium and long term goals. These are important as it helps to maintain staff morale overall and ensures the continuing high care of patients within the clinical environment. Statements are also important as they help to accurately record the sequence of events as they happened according the different staff members to get an overall picture of the incident and the part everyone had to play in it. Finally whistle blowing is carried out according to trusts local policies and even though there are slight differences within them they overall methods are the same.
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