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Nurse on the Run

What does dangerous mean to you?

Published October 29, 2013 2:53 PM by Lorettajo Kapinos

I often hear nurses refer to shift or situation as dangerous. I know I have had times where I feel inadequate or our of control. Once my assignment grew to be more than I felt I could handle, but at what point does it become dangerous?

 By definition on the Meriam-Webster website:

 dangerous means

--involving possible injury, harm, or death : characterized by danger

--able or likely to cause injury, pain, harm, etc.

Well, by that definition, nursing every day is dangerous. I could harm someone with any nursing intervention. So, what makes a particular shift or assignment more dangerous?  And who should decide? 

I'd like to hear some thoughts on dangerous and/or potentially dangerous situatiouns


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Dangerous -  may cause injury or death in various situations.  One that comes to mind would be mandatory overtime and being expected to work beyond your limitations (whether they be physical or mental).  Another is the staff to patient ratios also.  Not just the nurse to patient ratio because there are many things that a staff person could handle and do while there may be an emergent situation that the nurse has to handle.  Not having the right equipment, or necessary training for a particular situation.  In my 26 years of nursing, there have been many times when i have been told to "make do" and have been put on the spot.  Sometimes they were indeed "dangerous" spots.  I did my best and got through but knowing what I know now and what can happen nowadays to a nurse in that situation.  I would shout from the highest mountain and make sure that everyone was aware.  I would write everything down and if I could, get the supervisor to sign that he/she was aware and "we are doing are best."  I can't imagine that nurses like being in these situations, but sometimes it can't be helped.  

Karol, Nursing - Nurse December 21, 2013 6:03 PM
Spring Hill FL

As a new nurse, I find it "dangerous" on a medsurg floor to have awful patient to nurse ratios.  Many times on my floor we have six patients.  These patients can vary widely in acuity.  Some are on drips, pain pumps, and require frequent monitoring.  Not to mention we have our many medications to give that sometimes we frequent rooms every hour or two.  Having so much to do for that many patients can really be "dangerous," especially when they bump that number from six to seven.

When things go downhill for one nurse in that situation- we normally have to call a rapid/code and hope that others can assist but even during those times, other nurses are in their own world of mess.  

It's things like that, that are very discouraging to new nurses like myself.  However, I still am very thankful for my experiences because I think daily of how they can be corrected.  

Courtney , MedSurg - RN, BSN November 17, 2013 11:50 AM

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