Nursing Notes

June 7, 2012

Patient location, gloves, worker type predict hand hygiene compliance

Filed under: Nursing — Shirley @ 5:33 am
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Here’s another article on the ever growing battle about handwashing in the hospital.  It is true that strict adherence to handwashing policy will save lives and money, but for some reason we have trouble following this simple policy.  Why is that?  Maybe there is not enough time in a shift to do all the handwashing called for?   I don’t have any answers, but would love to hear your take on this growing concern.

This article is from FierceHealthcare, which is a source I like very much.  I find many interesting articles about medicine and nursing here and you will, too.


Patients who receive care in a hallway bed are the most likely victims of healthcare workers not washing their hands, according to researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in a study to be published in the November Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

In the largest hand hygiene study with more than 5,800 patient encounters in the emergency department (ED), researchers found that bed location, the type of healthcare worker providing the care, and whether the provider used gloves all were predictors of poor hand hygiene in the ED.

“We found that receiving care in a hallway bed was the strongest predictor of your healthcare providers not washing their hands,” said study author Dr. Arjun Venkatesh, an emergency medicine resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in a Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America press release yesterday.

In addition, researchers found that workers transporting patients were less likely to wash their hands because they likely do not receive as much hand hygiene training as others, according to the press release. They also said that providers using gloves was not a substitute for handwashing in controlling infections.

However, in most cases (90 percent of time), ED workers do wash their hands.

Handwashing could save up to $33 billion, according to a UPI article. In a Health Affairs study, infection control interventions such as handwashing resulted in patients leaving two days earlier and reduced mortality rates by 2 percentage points. Hospital costs also were $12,000 less, according to the article.

For more information:
– read the press release
– here’s the study abstract
– read the UPI article

Related Articles:
Hospital workers comply with hand hygiene signs about patients, not themselves
CDC: Physician offices too lax about infection control
Handwashing more common in public restrooms than in hospitals
Doctors, nurses don’t want patients to bug them about handwashing
Is 100 percent compliance on handwashing possible?

Read more: Patient location, gloves, worker type predict hand hygiene compliance – FierceHealthcare

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October 12, 2011

Governor Signs Healthcare Law to Save Backs and Bucks

Service Employees International Union

Image via Wikipedia

Here is an article about the new law in California to protect both patient and nurses from lifting injuries.  California has always been in the forefront of the public fight to protect both parties and improve nursing care for all patients.  Patient safety is the number one issue for all nurses; sometimes to our own detriment.  We, as a group, have the highest incidence of musculo-skeletal injuries.  We need some help, too.

This law that was just signed by the Governor is a good first step.  We can hope that the rest of the nation will follow suit; but that is not guaranteed–see the battle ongoing over nurse-to-patient ratios all over the country.

This is an article by the SEIU in California.


Posted by Michael Cox, 916-799-6784 on October 7, 2011

AB 1136 will help prevent workplace injuries among hospital workers

Sacramento, CA – Today Governor Brown signed landmark Safe Patient Handling legislation (AB 1136) to prevent a staggering epidemic of workplace injuries among hospital workers while improving patient care.

“The SEIU nurses here in California have long recognized the need for safe patient handling legislation and this was the year to finally get that accomplished,” said Ingela Dahlgren, RN, the Executive Director of the SEIU Nurse Alliance of California. “Too many of our nurses and other healthcare workers have been injured on the job while moving or repositioning the patients in their care.”

Due to excessive unnecessary manual patient lifting and transfers, healthcare workers experience some of the nation’s highest rates of disabling neck, back, and shoulder injuries. However for more than a decade, mechanical lifting and transfer devices have proven to be remarkably effective in reducing these injuries while reducing serious patient skin tears and patients being dropped.

“There isn’t a nurse that I’ve met that doesn’t have a story of experiencing an injury while caring for a patient that took them off work either temporarily or permanently or at the very least isn’t dealing with chronic pain in their back, neck or shoulders,” said Dahlgren. “With this important legislation, not only will our patients be provided safer care, but hospitals will have the guidelines to better protect their employees and prevent career ending injuries.”

California nurses and healthcare workers have always lead the charge for safer working conditions and patient care, whether through Nurse-to-Patient ratios, safer needle legislation or Airborne Transmissible Disease Standards, and now Safe Patient Handling isn’t just a hope, it’s a reality.

The nation’s first Safe Patient Handling law requiring the purchase of safe patient handling equipment and training programs was passed in Washington State in 2006. As a result of the implementation of this law, a January 2011 study found that neck, back and shoulder injuries to hospital workers caused by manual patient handling have decreased by more than one third.1

California now joins Washington State and a half dozen other states where SEIU members have succeeded in passing Safe Patient Handling state laws. SEIU is continuing to work with legislators in other states to pass more Safe Patient Handling laws while pursuing passage of a federal law.

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April 6, 2010

Nurses: SHIFT Your Way to New Habits

Illustration of w:Florence Nightingale
Image via Wikipedia

Here is an interesting article from, which is a veritable treasure trove of information for both the working nurse and the about-to-be nurse.

I liked this article because I agree that habits control most of our lives and learning new habits is usually difficult and sometimes painful.  I thought if I posted this here and some new nurses read it, maybe they would use this as a springboard to build good working habits from the very start.

Nursing is a stressful profession–even on the good days.  That said, it is also a rewarding and satisfying profession.  I would like to hope I can do something to help new nurses weather the initial step into what may be a life-long adventure.  Learning something as basic as SHIFT and learning to use it when needed could be the habit that makes all the difference.  I can only hope.

Let me know what you thing about this won’t you?

Your brain works in amazing ways to institute habits.  Habits are great when you need to execute everyday tasks.  Imagine having to learn how to wash your face and brush your teeth every morning.  That would be like living in the movie 50 First Dates!  Our brain is hardwired to help us remember things that we do routinely so that we don’t have to think about every small detail.  At work, you use the habit part of your brain all the time.  When you do something like opening your locker to put away your belongings, you are unconsciously competent and you don’t have to look up instructions or ask for help.

But, remember back to a time when you didn’t know how to use a computer – when it wasn’t a habit.  You metaphorically cleared a path in your brain so that you would remember bits and pieces each time you navigated the PC and its software.  Over time, you created a good sort of “rut” in your brain which holds the computer habit and now you are really proficient and can check email while talking on the phone and having a cup of coffee.  Sound familiar?

Now, let’s look at the opposite extreme – when habits are bad.  The hardwiring I spoke about above is the reason habits are so hard to change.  The “ruts” that you’ve created when you react to bad situations at work have to be filled in with new information which is more helpful.  Have you ever tried to lose weight or quit smoking?  If you have, then you know how quickly your brain remembers the old habits.  Creating new habits involves getting rid of the old ruts, but more importantly, replacing them with new ruts which are helpful.

You can use the SHIFT steps to help you respond more positively to annoyances at work like a bothersome coworker or complaining patient.  The habitual responses you learned from your work beliefs and past experiences formed the old patterns that you will now release.  With practice – and distance from the old habits – you will see great results and start to live the good life at work.

Here’s how it works:

Aggravating Situation: A nurse coworker calls out sick and you know you’ll have to pick up the slack – or your manager has asked you to take an extra patient to cover the person.

S: Stop and breathe

By consciously stopping yourself before you go into “habit mode” – you teach your brain to create new ruts.  The breath helps you focus and sends oxygen to your blood.  It also keeps you from saying something you might later regret because you can’t breathe in and talk at the same time!

H: Harness Knee Jerk Reactions

In this case, your knee jerk reactions might be to “kill the messenger” or to start bad mouthing the nurse who called out.  You might immediately feel sorry for yourself and start complaining about all the work you’ll have to do today.  Put a stop to these reactions before they get you in trouble.

I: Identify and manage negative emotions

Your negative emotions might include feeling sad, angry, exasperated, resentful… The list can go on an on.  Take a few minutes to recognize what you are feeling.  Then, and only then, will you be able to manage the emotions.  I’m not suggesting you just put on a happy face.  I’m suggesting that you manage the emotions through some of the options you will work on in the next step.

F: Find new options (come up with as many as you can before deciding what new path to take)

Make a list of what you absolutely have to get done today.

Ask your coworkers to divide up the work load of the absent nurse.

Notice a couple of things you are grateful for.

Read an inspiring quote.

Complain for 2 minutes (set a timer) and then get back to work.

T: Take one positive action

You get to pick.  Just choose to create a new “rut” that will be more productive and achieve better results.

When you SHIFT on a regular basis, you’ll create the hardwiring your brain needs for new habits which will put you on the road to Professional Paradise.  Have fun!

Using Social Media?  Twitter: @vickihess


Signing off from Professional Paradise,

Certified Speaking Professional, Author & Chief Paradise Officer

About the Author: Vicki Hess is an Escape Artist. She helps healthcare professionals escape from Professional Prison and provides their passport to Professional Paradise.  Vicki believes that deep down everyone wants to be the CPO (Chief Paradise Officer) of their job and through her presentations and workshops she provides the tools to get them there.

Click here for more information on Vicki Hess.

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