RaDonda Vaught - Prosecuting nurses won't make health care safer

Dr. J. Stephen Jones

With turnover and vacancy rates barely below record highs, hospital and health care leaders face a workforce reckoning. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that each year over the next decade there will be nearly 400,000 vacancies for registered nurses and nursing assistants – and there are a host of other shortages among physicians, social workers and the like.

On Friday, news came that will undoubtedly discourage future generations of health care workers from embarking on a career in the field. It will prompt some from our current workforce to abandon their jobs altogether.

While working as a nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2017, RaDonda Vaught made a mistake. Vaught was caring for a 75-year-old patient when she accidentally administered the wrong drug and did not monitor the patient. That resulted in a worst-case scenario. The patient, Charlene Murphey, died. 

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