Letter to the Editor by Kane on "Patient Safety: A Shared Responsibility"

Patient Safety: Who Guards the Patient?

April 30, 2004
in response to "Patient Safety: A Shared Responsibility" by Karen A. Ballard, MA, RN (Sept. 30, 2003)
with reply by the author

Dear Editor:

I write in response to the article, "Patient Safety: A Shared Responsibility." As a health care professional, I was a little surprised and disappointed that this article failed to recognize allied staff as also having responsibility for patient safety. Health care involves teamwork among all facets of patient care and safety. Whether it's a nurse, physical therapist, respiratory therapist, radiology technician, or other staff member that is providing care for a patient, we all have to be aware of patient safety. Nurses are not alone in their care for patients, nor are the stressors that affect their job restricted solely to them. Our jobs are as intertwined as the human body. Patients are not compartmentalized by organ systems, and their care should not be either.

I am rather tired of the attitude taken by nurses that the patient is their sole responsibility. We all are in this together. I wish, for once, I could see an article on how nurses have had to rely more on their allied staff colleagues as their responsibilities, such as patient care documentation, increase. Shortages are hard on all of us, and our nurses are definitely an invaluable part of patient care; but they are not alone.


Tammy Kane, R.R.T.
Registered Respiratory Therapist