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When No One Is on Call

Nursing is a caring profession, but that caring can take a serious hit when there are too many things to do and too few people to do them. The results can be tragic…

INTERNATIONAL NURSES ASSOCIATION

We nurses all have stories — if we’re lucky, it’s just one — about the time we failed a patient. It’s usually a problem of being too busy: too many cases, too many procedures to keep track of until one critical step, just one, slips through our frenetic fingers and someone gets hurt.

I saw it happen the first time while in nursing school. A patient needed an escalating dose of pain medicine. Her pain eased, but her breathing slowed and her oxygen level dropped. I told her nurse that the patient might need narcan, a reversing agent for opioids.

READ MORE AT opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com

 

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