August 1, 2012
JoNel Allecia’s NBC News article, Burned Out Nurses Linked to More Infections , addresses an important issue that is often overlooked and ignored. Let’s be brutally honest, without an appropriate nursing workforce, our entire healthcare system would collapse. As our healthcare system continues to shift to a business and profit model, both nurse and physician burnout will only increase.
Decisions to “cut corners” by not providing adequate nursing staff are made on a daily basis to our detriment. There was a time when additional nurses would be brought in based on the patient census for the day or evening shift but those days are gone forever.
According to a recent medical study, for every extra patient added to a nurse’s workload, there is one hospital acquired infection for every 1,000 patients. While this may not sound significant to the uninitiated, a hospital acquired infection can wreck havoc because it is usually caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are difficult to treat and Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus (aka flesh-eating bacteria) or MRSA is a perfect example.
The study goes on to report that when an additional patient is added to 5.7 patients per nurse, 1,351 additional hospital infections occur that are preventable. The statistics are alarming.
A few months ago I reviewed a medical ob-gyn case where the labor room nurses were short-staffed and the patient unfortunately died of complications. The physician had patients in labor but chose to finish his office hours rather than attend to a sick patient so the short-staffed labor room nurses were essentially managing his high-risk patients.
What can a patient do? Plenty.
- Ask what the patient to nurse ratio on the day of your hospital admission and if the nursing staff pattern is inappropriate, ask your insurance company if you are eligible for a private duty nurse based on the increased hazards associated with inadequate nursing staffs.
- Ask your physician to come to the hospital to closely oversee your care or make sure there’s a hospitalist on duty
- File a formal complaint with the hospital administrators, State Board of Nursing and the Joint Hospital Commission for jeopardizing your patient safety based on inadequate staffing patterns
When nurses are overloaded with work, an entire community suffers.
November 2, 2009
Every day we look in the mirror, see our reflections but are not astute enough to recognize that we are viewing a miracle. However, Sade Davis knows otherwise because she is pregnant and was technically dead. (See Paramedics Bring Drowned Pregnant Woman Back to Life, NBC News, Keith Garvin and Matthew Stabley).
Davis is a 23-year-old pregnant mom from Prince George County, Maryland whose car veered off the road and ended up in a nearby creek. Miraculously someone saw what happened and moved into quick action. People from Fire Station 825 were on their way to another call when the eye-witness jumped in the middle of the road and flagged them down for help. Firefighter David Wilson and Lieutenant Dale Giampetroni pulled Davis out of the car and found her breathless and without a pulse. They performed CPR and brought Davis back to life. Both mom and unborn baby are alive and awaiting the baby’s delivery. Someone told Davis that it was obvious her baby was meant to be here which brings me to my next point.
There are no accidents, coincidences or “chance occurrences” in the human experience. And there certainly are no “accidents of birth.” Millions of sperm are given the assignment of fertilizing an egg that resides outside of the uterine cavity in the ovary. The uterine cavity is a hostile environment to the well-meaning sperm and yet it somehow overcomes the adversity of the uterus, travels inside the fallopian tube where it drills through the protective covering of the egg in order to gain entrance for fertilization. That’s not an easy task my friends, just ask any infertility patient.
Our presence on this planet is nothing short of a miracle. We are ALL supposed to be here to share our special gifts during the human experience.
The story of Sade Davis inspires all of us to recognize that you do not need to have a near-death experience in order to experience miracles. Just look at your reflection in the mirror, and then give your Creator some praise.