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De Angulo NR, Penwill N, Pathak PR, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2021;Epub Dec 24.
This study explored administrator, physician, nurse, and caregiver perceptions of safety in pediatric inpatient care during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants reported changes in workflows, discharge and transfer process, patient and family engagement, and hospital operations.
Jomaa C, Dubois C‐A, Caron I, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2021;Epub Nov 30.
Nurses play a critical role in ensuring patient safety. This study explored the association between the organization of nursing services and patient safety incidents in rehabilitation units. Findings highlight the key role of appropriate nurse staffing in reducing the incidence of events such as falls and medication errors

National Alert Network. Horsham, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. December 6, 2021. 

Vaccine missteps are known to occur during flu and COVID-19 inoculation efforts. This announcement raises awareness of misadministration of COVID vaccines associated with patient age. It highlights storage protocols as one approach to minimize mistakes. This alert is part of a national program to distribute learnings from report analysis to improve medication safety.
Benning S, Wolfe R, Banes M, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:372-377.
Patient falls represent a significant cause of patient harm. While most research on falls focus on the in-patient setting, this study reviewed research evidence and findings from environmental assessments to provide recommendations for reducing risk of falls in the pediatric ambulatory care setting. Three categories of barriers and interventions were identified: equipment and furniture, environment, and people.
Chaker A, Omair I, Mohamed WH, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79:187–192.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices recommends compounding pharmacies use technology and automation to improve patient safety. Researchers assessed the workflow and workforce requirements of one hospital’s sterile preparation center (SPC) following implementation of these recommendations. The average time to prepare each type of medication was used to determine pharmacy staffing workforce requirements.
Hennus MP, Young JQ, Hennessy M, et al. ATS Sch. 2021;2:397-414.
The surge of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic forced the redeployment of non-intensive care certified staff into intensive care units (ICU). This study surveyed both intensive care (IC)-certified and non-IC-certified healthcare providers who were working in ICUs at the beginning of the pandemic. Qualitative synthesis identified five themes related to supervision; quality and safety of care; collaboration, communication, and climate; recruitment, scheduling and team composition, and; organization and facilities. The authors provide recommendations for future deployments.
Blume KS, Dietermann K, Kirchner‐Heklau U, et al. Health Serv Res. 2021;56:885-907.
Nurse staffing levels have been shown to impact patient outcomes. Through an umbrella literature review and expert interviews, researchers developed a list of nurse-sensitive patient outcomes (NSPO). This list provides researchers potential avenues for future studies examining the link between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes.
Cecil E, Bottle A, Majeed A, et al. Br J Gen Pract. 2021;71:e547-e554.
There has been an increased focus on patient safety, including missed diagnosis, in primary care in recent years. This cohort study evaluated the incidence of emergency hospital admission within 3 days of a visit with a GP with missed sepsis, ectopic pregnancy, urinary tract infection or pulmonary embolism. Shorter duration of appointment and telephone appointment (compared with in person) were associated with increased incidence of self-referred emergency hospital admission.
James L, Elkins-Brown N, Wilson M, et al. Int J Nurs Stud. 2021;123:104041.
Many hospitals have adopted a 12-hour work shift for nurses and some studies have shown a resulting increase in burnout and decrease in patient safety. In this study, researchers assessed simulated nursing performance, cognition, and sleepiness in day nurses and night nurses who worked three consecutive 12-hour shifts. Overall results indicated nurses on both shifts mostly maintain their abilities on the simulated nursing performance assessment despite reporting increased sleepiness and fatigue. However there was more individual variation in cognition and some domains of performance.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. October 7, 2021;26(20):1-4.

Production pressure and low staff coverage can result in medication mistakes in community pharmacies. This article shares reported vaccine errors and factors contributing to mistaken administration of flu and COVID vaccines. Storage, staffing and collaboration strategies are shared to protect against vaccine mistakes.

Bean M, Masson G. Becker's Hospital Review. October 4, 2021.

Staffing shortages can impact the safety of care by enabling burnout, care omission, and staff attrition. This article discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated an examination of how staffing challenges affect areas such as diagnosis, infection control, and organizational patient safety focus.
NIOSH [2015]. NIOSH training for nurses on shift work and long work hours. By Caruso CC, Geiger-Brown J, Takahashi M, Trinkoff A, Nakata A. Cincinnati, OH: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2015-115 (Revised 10/2021)
Nurse fatigue has been associated with diminished decision-making skills that can contribute to patient harm. This online training program for clinicians and administrators will explore hazards related to nurse fatigue and provide strategies to address behaviors and systems that increase these risks.
Cohen JB, Patel SY. Anesth Analg. 2021;133:816-820.
Designated safety leadership roles are situated to direct and sustain organizational safety progress. This commentary describes an anesthesiology safety officer function and how it is positioned to motivate staff safety behaviors and support engagement during project challenges.
Andel SA, Tedone AM, Shen W, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2021;78:121-130.
During the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, 120 nurses were surveyed about nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, skill mix, and near misses in their hospitals. Personnel understaffing led to increased use of workarounds, and expertise understaffing led to increased cognitive failures, both of which shaped near misses. Hospital leaders should recognize both forms of understaffing when making staffing decisions, particularly during times of crisis.
von Vogelsang A‐C, Göransson KE, Falk A‐C, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2021;29:2343-2352.
Incomplete nursing care can be detrimental to care quality and patient safety. This cross-sectional survey of nurses in Sweden at one acute care hospital did not identify significant differences in missed nursing care before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors posit that these results may be attributed to maintaining nurse-patient ratios, sufficient nursing skill mix, and patient mix.
Awan M, Zagales I, McKenney M, et al. J Surg Educ. 2021;78:e35-e46.
In 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) updated the duty hour restrictions (DHR) for medical residents to increase resident well-being. This review focused on surgical patient outcomes, resident case volume, and resident quality of life following the implementation of the 2011 update. Results showed DHR did not improve patient safety or surgical resident quality of life. The authors suggest future revisions meant to improve resident well-being not focus solely on hours worked in a single shift or week.

Anjali Joseph, PhD, EDAC, is a Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Endowed Chair in Architecture and Health Design. Molly M. Scanlon, PhD, FAIA, FACHA, is the Director at Phigenics, LLC. We spoke with them about how healthcare built environments have been temporarily modified during the COVID-19 pandemic and what learnings may be used moving forward.