Can understaffing lead to negligence?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2022 | Hospital Negligence

In recent years, most branches of the medical field have suffered from an increased issue of understaffing. This has led to issues like hospital overcrowding and staff working long, grueling hours.

Unfortunately, these hours affect more than just the staff who suffer through them. They can actually have a ripple effect that harms everyone that comes in contact with the hospital they work in.

What overworked staff looks like

Nursing Uniforms discusses ways that exhausted workers and understaffed hospitals can lead to more cases of negligence and misconduct. Of course, negligence does not often happen due to specific intent or malicious desire to harm patients. Most often, it happens when medical staff simply cannot keep up with the demands of the patients.

For example, many nurses have cited that they sleep in the break room for a few hours between back-to-back ten or 12-hour shifts. Needless to say, after working so long with barely a break in between, a staff member’s level of attention and care will drop significantly.

Tired staff makes avoidable mistakes

The more tired and overworked staff is, the more likely they are to make easily avoidable mistakes such as mixing up patients’ medication or forgetting to check in on someone as they recover from surgery.

While these are not malicious acts on the part of the staff, they can still create a disruption in the life of the patient. In some cases, negligence can even lead to further injury. In the most severe of instances, it might even cause the death of a patient that could have otherwise been avoidable.

This is why it is so crucial to start working on the overbearing and ever-present issue of hospital understaffing.


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