Those of our readers who work in health care, or have family members who do, know that understaffing can be a serious issue. This is particularly true in the nursing profession, where nurses are often asked to pick up extra shifts and work overtime to cover staffing gaps.
Understaffing can result in a number of problems in the workplace, from worker dissatisfaction to compromised workplace performance. Understaffing can and often does translate into preventable errors, and compromised patient care as a result. The problem is significant enough that it came before the Michigan Legislature last month in a package of bills aimed at addressing the problem.
The bills would, among other things, require hospitals to maintain open records of nurse-to-patient ratios, prohibit hospitals from requiring overtime from nursing staff, and require hospitals to establish staffing plans to prevent shortfalls. The aim of the bills is to cut down on preventable errors in hospitals attributable to understaffing.
While nurses often complain about shortfalls in nursing staff, patients who have been harmed in the course of hospital care don’t care whether nursing staff was short. Patients shouldn’t have to worry about that. They deserve quality care from competent providers in all circumstances.
Obtaining fair compensation for their injuries and losses is critical to ensuring a just outcome. Achieving fair compensation can be done, of course, by pursuing medical malpractice liability against any physicians who were responsible for the negligence, but also by pursuing negligence actions against hospital staff and any other responsible parties.
Working with an experienced attorney is critical for patients to build the strongest possible case and to develop a sound strategy for achieving the best possible resolution to their case.