Five common causes of nursing negligence that must be rectified

What are five common causes of nursing negligence? The profession of medicine is perhaps the most cautious, risky, and demanding compared to other occupations. The reason is pretty simple. It deals with lives. It is why even minor errors can lead to detrimental consequences.

Most of the time, even successful procedures fail due to nursing staff’s negligence during the healing process. It means nurses’ immediate assistance is significant to the point of a procedure’s success or failure. As such, malpractice in wound dressing can prolong healing and lead to infection.

Hence, if doctors carry out specialized treatment procedures, nurses ensure treatment efficacy. But, there’s more; nurses even walk along with patients to ensure they understand and maintain compliance with their treatment.

At this point, it is apparent that the malpractice and negligence of the nursing staff can contribute to life-threatening outcomes for the patients.

On the other hand, nurses consider themselves as assistants and attribute their participation as secondary. That kind of mindset can also have devastating consequences for the well-being of patients. It is why addressing causes of negligence is crucial to minimize their detrimental impact on patients’ lives.

The following sections discuss some of the causes behind nurses’ negligence and how to correct them.

Incomprehensive knowledge and training

Preparation is crucial to obtain proficiency in any activity or profession. And it is not possible without going through extensive training. The same applies to nursing practice as well.

It is why nursing programs like a masters in nursing online aim to refine nursing fundamentals while introducing advanced knowledge and techniques to aspirants. These programs cater to risks and details of the profession as per emerging challenges of the field.

Furthermore, nursing practitioners should not merely enrich their knowledge but also carry out practical responsibilities at the healthcare facility. They should utilize programs’ convenience to learn, relearn, and correct shortfalls side by side.

Even though the staff does not carry out specialized duties like experts, their work is equally impactful. They form a crucial connection between the patients and healthcare experts. Hence, their aptitude, observation, and decision-making are significant to the point of deciding patients’ fate.

In contrast, inadequate knowledge and insufficient training are a few of the significant causes of negligence. Unprepared nurses not only make mistakes but may endanger patients’ health in an irrecoverable state. And their inefficiency can have a lifelong impact.

In essence, comprehensive training and practical exposure are essential to prepare them for such a vital role.

Overburden and tight duty schedule

At present, the healthcare sector is facing numerous challenges, and one of the most prominent is understaffing and overwork. Most of the time, hospitals’ incapability and work burden directly fall on the shoulders of the nursing staff. However, if nurses’ workload expands from few patients, they are prone to suffer from burnout.

Similarly, long working duration than standard eight hours’ shits and less resting time further hamper their capability. As a result, overworked nurses cannot cater to personal and patients’ requirements side by side. They are also less focused while taking directives, getting them, and implementing them effectively. 

In the end, they are more likely to make judgment errors. Such errors may range from altering medication dosages to severe accidents. Studies also show that nurses’ burnout and overload can increase patients’ mortality rates up to approximately 7% than relaxed nurses.

Their exhaustion also increases patients’ chances of acquiring infections during the treatment and healing process. In essence, workload and busy schedule are some of the causes behind negligence and failures in nursing responsibilities.

Hence, hospitals should not distribute work beyond workers’ abilities. Instead, they should focus on amassing their capacity to manage workload.

Failing to cater to nurses’ health

One’s well-being decides chances of success or failure in professional conduct. It means if nurses are not healthy themselves, they cannot ensure patients’ well-being.

No doubt, healthcare is a challenging profession and capable of impacting the well-being of even occupants. However, nursing professionals and other lower-level staff encounter more challenges than experts. 

Research studies also point out the intensity of several health issues in the nursing staff, ranging from acute to chronic illnesses. Approximately 76.6% suffer from anxiety, 36.9% complain of migraines, and 45.9% encounter sleeplessness.

Apart from psychic problems, they are also prone to several physical issues. Diabetes, overweight, and obesity are also commonly occurring health conditions in the nursing staff due to their work nature.

The gravity and scale of these problems indicate that professionals incapable or helpless in maintaining their well-being cannot maintain cautiousness while dealing with patients. As a result, they are prone to making blunders, threatening patients’ lives.

Thus healthcare workers’ well-being should be a fundamental responsibility of the healthcare facility. Otherwise, preventing mismanagement across diverse activities and throughout the setup is impossible.

Ambiguity of the scope and authority

The structure of the healthcare facility in terms of scope and authority is another factor leading to negligence. The system also considers that the higher the professional status, the higher the responsibility and accountability.

Lower-level staff, their responsibilities, and conduct do not receive much attention or scrutiny. It is why nurses also consider their jobs are limited to nurturing, taking effect after the procedure. However, they form the foundation of the system, and their mistakes can shake the entire empire.

Hence, careful distinction, classification, and allocation of responsibilities are crucial. Otherwise, confusion in the scope and authority of each worker can widen and cause several fissures.

It is equally important to ensure each workforce member understands the significance of working as a team, perfecting each other. Otherwise, malpractice or negligence of even one member can produce damaging outcomes rather than providing cures to patients.

Similarly, negligence at any stage of the healthcare practice can have long-lasting and painful outcomes for patients, regardless of who makes mistakes. For instance, nurses’ inability to distinguish minor changes in psychic or drug addict patients’ behavior and symptoms can lead to health deterioration drastically.

Hence, their awareness as individual staff members and part of a larger team is fundamental. And introducing that awareness and ensuring compliance is the system’s responsibility.

Delays in resolving Complains

Every system has loopholes and is prone to malfunctioning. However, what matters the most is the identification of mistakes and acts of negligence and resolving them at early stages. If the system is not robust, the majority of complaints lead to failures.

Hence, systematic loopholes are the reasons behind staff negligence and their negative impact on patients. As a such, the system’s failure to identify and readily resolve prejudice against nursing staff increases their demotivation.

The system’s inability to effectively address complaints of mental, emotional, and physical abuse at the workplace leads to workers’ insincerity and breakdown.

Similarly, the staff feels discouraged when the system delays resolving misbehavior issues from patients and their attendants.

In essence, the system’s inability to cater to the nursing staff, their worries, and requirements increase their frustration.

As a result, the dissatisfied and irritated staff is more likely to mishandle their responsibilities and even cause accidents. 

Hence, heeding to the staff and their complaints is essential for better performance and lower mismanagement issues. 


Practically, it is impossible to mitigate the occurrence of negligence altogether from any profession, which is also true for the healthcare profession.

However, identifying causes and addressing them can reduce their impact and intensity. Such a mechanism is inevitable across the entire healthcare service. Otherwise, it is not the only image of the facility, sector, or workforce, but patients’ lives can be at stake.

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