In medical settings, understaffing can cause crucial problems at every level of operation. To make up for the short-staffing, the employees on hand often get tapped up for way more than their fair share of work, which can lead to other problems on its own.
For example, exhaustion can lead to negligence, which can harm patients in different and complicated ways.
What is negligence?
The National Institutes of Health define negligence in medical settings. Negligence involves the breach of a doctor’s duty to provide a patient with relief and correct treatment utilizing the skills and knowledge they have attained through years of training and on-the-job experience.
Many different circumstances can lead to negligence. In some cases, it may be intentional, such as medical staff cutting corners to save on costs. As an example, negligence can involve repairing a broken piece of medical equipment instead of replacing it, which then leads to the injury of a patient the next time the equipment is in use.
Why does negligence happen?
Negligence is sometimes unintentional, too. Understaffed hospitals with overworked staff pose a big problem currently. When exhausted and overworked, medical employees are prone to making mistakes. These mistakes can range wildly from forgetting to give a patient-important medication to accidentally switching the medicine two different patients need.
Negligence often leads to patient injury and can sometimes even lead to patient death. Negligence on the part of the staff will result in harsh legal penalties, but this is not stopping the current nationwide crisis of nurse shortages and overworked staff from picking up all of the slack.