Have you ever walked into a healthcare facility and immediately noticed red flags when it comes to patient safety? Maybe someone isn’t wearing gloves when they should be. Or perhaps they’re not sterilizing tools properly. When you see things that make you quiver like this, you have to wonder, how safe is this hospital? Some hospitals do a better job than others in following safety protocols. There are many reasons why hospitals may struggle with safety, from the way it is managed, to inadequate staff, to lacking resources, depending on the hospital’s location. However, as a travel nurse, you need to understand how these safety flaws or successes affect you!
Let’s talk about…
- What is a hospital safety grade?
- What factors are considered when grading a hospital?
- Where can you find a hospital’s grade?
- Why does it matter to you?
What is a hospital safety grade?
A hospital safety grade is exactly as it sounds – it is the grade data analyzers give hospitals on their patient safety. Many patients and healthcare workers want to see what a hospital’s safety score is. Organizations like the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare and Leapfrog Group work diligently to investigate and survey hospitals so that they can hold them accountable for safety. The best part is that they make that information public for consumers as well as potential employees, like you.
What things affect hospital safety grade?
So, what are organizations like CMS and Leapfrog looking for? They are evaluating data such as how many medical errors occurred at that hospital, how many people died as a result of those errors, what the patient experience there is like, as well as how the patients feel hospital personnel communicate with them.
Where can you find a hospital’s safety grade?
The easiest way to see a hospital’s safety grade is to visit hospitalsafetygrade.org. However, don’t be afraid to do more investigating and check government resources. It’s important to have a well-rounded opinion of the hospital.
Why hospital safety grades matter to travel nurses
You may be thinking, as a travel nurse, what does a hospital safety grade have to do with me? Well, there are two major reasons why you need to pay attention to a hospital safety grade when looking for your next travel assignment.
You could make it a safer place
On one hand, a negative hospital safety grade could mean that you have the opportunity to really turn things around. As a travel nurse, you’ll often find assignments available in hospitals that are struggling to find and keep full time staff. You can come in and fill gaps in care, making it easier on all healthcare workers there. In the long run, the better work flow they have and the more hands on deck, the safer patients will be. Sometimes hospitals have low safety grades simply because they are so short staffed. Their full-time workers are experiencing extreme burn out, and they literally can’t keep up with the level of care that they should be.
It might not be a good environment to step into
On the other hand, if a hospital has a low safety score, it could be a result of poor management and workflow. This might not be the best situation to walk into as a travel nurse. Even though you’re only there for 13 weeks, you don’t really want to put yourself in the middle of a very toxic environment. Be sure to ask a lot of questions about the person you’ll be working under, the patient ratio in your unit, and specific red flags you noticed in the safety report. Remember that they’re not the only ones doing the interviewing – you don’t have to sign a contract that won’t help you further your career. The reason you’re in travel nursing is to avoid negative work environments and to make a difference.
Do you check out a hospital’s safety grade before signing a travel contract? What other things do you research about the hospital you’ll be working in? Share your travel nurse secrets with us in the comments below!