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Depression among nurses shown to increase medical errors

A new study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine by researchers at Ohio State University, suggests that nurses' poor health may increase the risk of a patient suffering a medical error.

Researchers working on the study, which was just published at the end of October, polled just under 1,800 nurses nationwide in order to try to gain a better perspective about health concerns they may have. They found that at least half of them reported to be of less than optimal mental or physical health themselves.

Investigators also found that the nurses afflicted by poor health themselves were as high as 71 percent more likely to not report medical errors. A large percentage of the nurse respondents noted found themselves afflicted by depression. Researchers also noted that nurses working for employers that were wellness-oriented tended to be less likely to suffer from poor health.

For its own part, the National Academy of Medicine has commissioned a study to look at ways to encourage a better work-life balance among medical professionals. Preliminary data suggests that they need to dedicate more resources to decreasing fatigue, burnout and depression.

Preliminary data shows that those working in this industry often find themselves working for hospitals or medical systems that are financially strapped. This leads them to have to juggle handling increasingly sicker patients while also having more responsibilities added to their plates, like maintaining the electronic version of patient medical records.

When coupled with having to work numerous long shifts, it pushes workers in this industry to the brink. These stressful situations were reported to impact nurses, leading at least half of them to commit medical errors during the past five years.

Whether caused by nurse, doctor, employer, landlord or mechanic oversight, victims who suffer injuries because of their negligence may be entitled to compensation for damages in their case. A Chicago personal injury attorney can advise you of your right to file a lawsuit in your particular case.

Source: OSU News, "Nurses’ depression tied to increased likelihood of medical errors," Misti Crane, accessed Nov. 16, 2017

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