Risk Assessment Requirement in Clinical Settings

Nurses who “actively choose” not to use early warning scores to spot deteriorating patients should face disciplinary action, the senior nurse lead for a new patient safety campaign has told Nursing Times.

Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust director of nursing and patient care Marie-Noelle Orzel, who is the deterioration intervention lead for the campaign Patient Safety First, said the risk assessment tool should become a routine requirement in appropriate clinical settings.

Ms Orzel said trusts should make it clear in policies and guidance that the use of early warning scores – in which a patient’s vital signs are measured and given a score to reflect the stability of their condition – is not optional. Not using them is “almost criminal”, she said.

“Trusts should offer extra training and supervised practice, but this is a patient safety issue and nurses who actively choose not to use [early warning scores] should be held to account in the same way as if they choose not to check a drug properly,” she said.

A spokesperson for the NMC said it is not their place to admonish nurses who refuse to follow hospital policy, but in line with the NMC code of conduct nurses must “act without delay if they believe they or a colleague may be putting some one at risk”.

Original article in Nursing Times

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