I’ve had conversations with several RN colleagues that left me saying, are you serious? I hesitated writing about this but I thought I’d share so we can all learn and avoid doing the same.
1. Whatever happened to those “multi-use” syringes? That’s crazy that I can’t reuse syringes when I’m just drawing up medication for injections and not using it on patients.
- Ok, I know what you’re thinking but this conversation came up during our discussion of the “One and Only Campaign” on safe injection practices. ONE NEEDLE, ONE SYRINGE, ONE TIME! If you are not familiar with this campaign. please click here and read about it.
- This RN looked at me like I had 10 heads. I pointed to the icon on the syringe label. Have you looked at your syringe labels lately?
- Bottom line: Unless you are using glass syringes, which should be cleaned and sterilized after each use, before the next use, there is no such thing as “multi-use” syringe! The syringes in the US are disposable and as the label indicates, do not reuse! ONE NEEDLE, ONE SYRINGE, ONE TIME!
- In case you are wondering, when is a syringe considered used? Check this post out – click here
2. An RN preparing to give a weight based medication to a patient states: I don’t weigh the patient each time they come, only in the beginning of their treatment. Why should I weigh them again, they can tell me if their weight has changed.
- What? seriously? I’m sure all of you reading this are shaking your heads much like I did. So tell me, is this a case of lack of knowledge or just plain laziness? You be the judge.
- Bottom line: one vital piece of patient-specific information, the patient weight, is especially important because it is often used to calculate the appropriate dose of a medication (e.g., mg/kg, mcg/kg, mg/m2). A prescribed medication dose can differ significantly from the appropriate dose as a result of missing or inaccurate patient weights.
3. An RN started a PIV without gloves. RN stated, I have never worn gloves when starting IV’s and I am very careful not to touch blood.
- This scenario happening in 2014?? How long has it been since Blood borne pathogen and Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act became a federal law? It was the year 2000 and came into effect in 2001.
- When asked why the RN wasn’t using gloves, the response was, never have and never will. (oy!)
- Employer was made aware and stated, yeah, we know. Sad but true, they don’t seem to be concerned.
- Bottom line: The law applies to all employers who have an employee(s) with occupational exposure (i.e., reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of the employee’s duties). These employers must implement the requirements set forth in the standard.
It was heart breaking to have these conversations with my nursing colleagues who are actively practicing nursing and providing patient care. Why are there nurses who think and act this way when there are standards of practice and federal mandates that give us guidance? We have a responsibility to follow best practice/standards of practice to protect ourselves, the public and the patients we serve. It’s always a convenient excuse to say that one didn’t know such standards or law exist. Let’s not forget, a person who is unaware of a law ( or in some cases, standards of practice) may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content.