Our patients notice what we do….

Most of the comments or questions I get are from readers who are nursing colleagues. Occasionally, I get comments from readers who are infusion patients. This one comment stood out….

I go to an infusion center every two months for several years now to receive my infusions. It is a very busy infusion center and lately I’ve noticed several things they began to do to be more efficient. One noticeable change is their practice of removing syringes from their packages, attaching needles to the tip, and stacking them like a floral arrangement on a table top. The nurses state that this is a time saver for them since they use many of these syringes in a day. I am horrified that they would do this and wouldn’t this contaminate the syringes. I am just a patient, no medical training, but even I know that this is definitely not good practice and can compromise our care.

WOW!! Really?? Seriously??  I couldn’t believe what I was reading! I’m sure you all would have the same reaction after reading this. Why would any nurse even think of doing something like this?

We all know that syringes should be removed from their packages immediately before use only,otherwise,sterility is not guaranteed with open packages or syringes removed from packaging and stored for later use.

Again,  I would refer to the “APIC Position Paper on Safe injection, infusion, and medication vial practices in health care”.  Here’s their statement about syringes.

  • Remove the sterile needle/cannulas and/or syringe from the package immediately before use.
  • Never use a syringe for more than 1 patient even if the needle has been changed between patients. Changing the needle but not the syringe is unacceptable.
  • Use a new syringe and a new needle for each entry into a vial or IV bag.
  • Utilize sharps safety devices whenever possible.
  • Discard syringes, needles, and cannulas after use directly on an individual patient or in an IV administration system.
  • Dispose of used needles/syringes at the point of use in an approved sharps container.
  • Do not prepare medication in one syringe to transfer to another syringe, ie, nurse draws up solution into syringe then transfers the solution to a syringe with plunger removed or injected into the bevel of syringe to then be injected into the patient.
  • Never transport or stored syringes in clothing or pockets
  • Prepare syringes as close to administration as feasible.

Yes, our patients notice what we do and how we do procedures when caring for them. Some of them are brave enough to ask questions, some aren’t. This patient told me, it took a while for her to think of a way to “gently” question the nurses for fear they might be angry and take it out on her. This bothers me a lot. I think nurses are way better than this and we should provide the best quality care. Our patients should feel safe in our care and not feel like we are doing them harm.

Now as far as saving time? I think we all know the answer to that….

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