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Deborah Dolan Hunt, PhD, RN, is an experienced nurse, educator, writer, scholar, full professor at the Dr. Betty L. Forest Dean of the College of Nursing and Public Health at Adelphi University, and author of Springer Publishing’s Fast Facts for Patient Safety in Nursing.
Hunt’s book is a practical resource for common preventable issues and their causes, including medication errors, patient falls, pressure ulcers, infections, and surgical errors. It focuses on strategies for becoming a safe practitioner through education and competency development while highlighting major national safety initiatives with improved outcomes.
Daily Nurse spoke with Hunt about Fast Facts for Patient Safety in Nursing and the impact of this incredible resource. What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.
What brings passion to your work?
Many things bring passion to my work. Writing and nursing have always been my passion. Throughout my nursing career, I have had various roles that were all fulfilling. As dean of the College of Nursing and Public Health, I collaborate with my colleagues to prepare our future nurses, advanced practice nurses, and healthcare professionals for their professional practice roles.
What inspired you to write your book, “Fast Facts for Patient Safety in Nursing?”
I have always been a patient advocate and have focused on patient safety. When To Err is Human was published, the Joint Commission and several organizations developed quality and safety initiatives. I was a hospital-based nurse educator at the time, and a major focus was on patient outcomes. When the QSEN competencies were developed, I was an assistant professor, attended faculty development sessions, and became the QSEN advocate for my peers. Although patient outcomes improved in recent years, the situation worsened. Several years ago, I attended a conference, and the keynote was given by Linda Caputi, who discussed the current state of affairs and the alarming statistics related to quality and safety. This prompted me to research patient safety and outcomes, and since I have published several books with Springer Publishing, I submitted a proposal, which was accepted. Due to the pandemic and my role as interim dean at the College of New Rochelle, the book took longer to write.
What is your role in helping decrease medical errors and improve patient outcomes?
As an educator, scholar, and author, I see my role as a content expert who can bring attention to the issues in a wide area through my articles, books, and presentations. As a professor and dean, I collaborate with my faculty colleagues within the College of Nursing and Public Health and the greater academic and clinical partners community.
Do you have any advice for avoiding medical errors?
Yes, and my books include many strategies based on my experience and literature review. There are several ways to avoid errors. Knowing the issues and statistics broadly and in one’s healthcare setting is important.
One of the important ones is for everyone to become a patient safety ambassador with a commitment to a culture of safety. Written and verbal communication has been identified as a frequent cause of errors, requiring education and policies to address these issues. Policies and procedures should be based on current evidence and reinforced at least annually. Nurses and other healthcare practitioners must develop critical thinking and clinical judgment skills. They must commit to lifelong learning, self-care, and patient advocacy. Engaging in self-care and truly being present with the patient is vitally important.
Hospital administrators must commit to quality and safety and maintain staffing ratios and mix. Patients and families need to take an active role in their care plan, as studies show that when patients are engaged, there are better outcomes. Medication errors and infections are some of the most common and require hypervigilance. Each healthcare organization must identify its strengths and weaknesses and develop approaches to improve quality and safety and prevent adverse outcomes.
The last chapter addresses patient safety using a holistic approach of cultural humility and artificial intelligence. Can you talk about that?
This chapter covers topics that are related to patient safety. First and foremost, in most situations, a holistic approach is warranted, mainly when focused on patient outcomes, as patient safety and quality are complex. However, it means that one should apply only some of the strategies at the same time. Cultural humility allows one to be open to others’ beliefs and attitudes. Some posit a correlation between cultural humility and perceptions of patient safety (Handtke et al., 2019; Hook et al., 2016). Artificial intelligence and technology are not new but are constantly changing and being reimagined and are correlated with improvements in patient outcomes. Still, there is a certain amount of risk, such as security breaches, that must always be considered.
Meet the Author
Deborah Dolan Hunt, PhD, RN, is an experienced nurse, educator, writer, and scholar. She is a full professor and the Dr. Betty L. Forest Dean of the College of Nursing and Public Health at Adelphi University. She is a Professor Emerita from The College of New Rochelle, past Associate Dean at Mercy College, and a New York Academy of Medicine Fellow.
She is thrilled to be publishing this book and has published three prior books with Springer Publishers; The New Nurse Educator: Mastering Academe, The Nurse Professional: Leveraging Your Education for Transition into Practice, and Fast Facts About Nursing Practice: Historical Facts in a Nutshell.
Hunt is on the editorial board of DailyNurse.com and serves on the Personalized Medicine Coalition Advisory Panel, and is a guest editor for Frontiers. She is an Ambassador and Reviewer with PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute). She serves as Co-Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee at Community Board #10, spearheading a healthy lifestyle initiative. She is a member of the Talent Acquisition Committee at the Westchester County Association and the Nassau Suffolk Executive Council. She was the PI of the HRSA grant at CNR and facilitated its transfer to Mercy College and is currently one of the Activity Directors for the Title V Access grants. Her research interests include leadership, patient outcomes, new nurse transition, and mentoring.
In addition to academic writing, Deborah also publishes children’s books, and the 2nd edition of her self-care book “Essential Oils, Teas, and Self-Care” will be released by Clear Fork Publishers.
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