To keep your patients safe, keep yourself safe.

Keeping patients safe is a critical part of any nurse’s job. But paying attention to your own wellbeing may be an important first step in achieving that goal.

Health and wellness writer Michele Wojciechowski reached that conclusion during an interview with nursing safety expert Patricia McGaffigan, RN, MS. McGaffigan is chief operating officer and senior vice president of programs for the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF). The interview, which appeared in a blog post in Daily Nurse’s Health & Wellness section offered these tips for nurses:

    Your safety is essential for patient safety. Communicate worries on rounds. There are many ways nurses can be involved in safety at their own level. For example, they can look for ways to champion care. Substandard care is not acceptable, and understanding reporting mechanisms for any related concerns is important. Understand that mistakes or errors nearly always result from systems issues.

    What should you do if a mistake causes a patient injury? Ensure that the patient is receiving any immediate care that they need. And be honest in reporting details.

    Get help for any emotional distress you may be having. Recognize that your distress may be long term and require ongoing support to maintain your emotional health.

Other tips, especially for new nurses, include being aware of practice policies and guidelines, reporting patient or family concerns and getting training in ergonomics and safe handling of patients. Read all the safety tips in the full article.