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How Can You Prevent Never Events?

Written by Rose Torrento on Wednesday, February 15, 2017

bigstock Medical Lies Concept 114137585 1As its name implies, a "never event" should never happen. Doctor-introduced in 2001, the phrase refers to obviously preventable medical or care errors that injure or kill patients.

As of 2011, quality care professionals have identified 29 specific never events across seven broad care categories, including performing surgery on the incorrect body part or artificially inseminating the wrong donor egg.

Often, nurses are the best medical services providers to identify never event risks while also being in the best positions to prevent them from ever occurring. Frequently on-site and engaging patients, nurses become intimately familiar with patients’ circumstances and conditions.

Understanding how and when never events occur is the first step in developing a plan to intervene when situations pose risks.

Know the risks

Identifying risks for any individual patient requires understanding her or his particular frailties and conditions. Older adults who have mobility difficulties may be susceptible to falls, for example, and caregivers should take extra care when moving or transiting them.

Proper protocol awareness is another necessity to prevent never events from occurring. Failure to follow these procedures can increase risks, so ensuring adequate staff training can help reduce injuries resulting from incompetence or negligence.

Surgical patients can suffer any number of unintended and severe injuries due to inadvertent proper procedure neglect. Excess or insufficient anesthesia, improper equipment sterilization, and even incorrect organ removal cause serious injuries or death, require additional hospital time, and add extra expenses as well as invite legal claims.

Avoiding never events

A well-rested nurse is an attentive nurse, so one of the best preventive measures you can take is to practice self-care.

Finally, the best way to avoid a never event on your next shift is to follow established protocols every day and with every patient. Regardless of the clinic you work in, the processes in place to prevent never events are there to protect your safety as well as that of your patients.

Would you like more information on how to avoid never events? At HPC, we're here to answer even your toughest nursing questions. Contact us online or give us a call at 888-299-9800 for access to resources and answers to your questions.

About the Author

Rose Torrento

Rose Torrento

Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.