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Infection Control: A Perspective on Life as an Operating Room Nurse December 19, 2011
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UnsinkableMB About the Author

Provided by Blood, Guts, and Coffee

What happens when a hospital discovers a spike in surgical site infections?
I can't tell you what happens at other hospitals, but at LTC, a task force is created, the troops are rallied, and all out war is declared on the whatever varmint is causing the trouble.
Task Force One consists of every hospital bigwig that has a connection to surgery:  Hospital President, Medical Staff Director, Chief of Surgery, Director of Infection Control, Presidents of various specialties (all surgeons), Manager of Environmental Services, Director of Surgical Services, the OR Manager, and representatives from Pharmacy and Anesthesia.  Somehow I (yes, little ol' me) made it on the list.
Over the last few months, we have had meeting after meeting creating a strategy to tackle this issue.  Data collection and analysis is, of course, part of the search for the root cause.  My mission, which I have accepted, is to oversee audits on aseptic technique.  We want to see how well our staff, surgeons, residents, anesthesiologists, and ancillary staff (perfusionists, etc.) follow protocol.  I won't be doing this myself because everyone minds their P's and Q's since I'm management.  Just put a big sticker on my forehead.  Seriously.  People shouldn't do the right thing because I'm management.  They should do the right thing because there is a human being's life and well-being at stake.
Instead of making my own observations, I have asked two nurses to secretly audit certain rooms.  It has only been one week, but so far I think it has been quite challenging for them to be discreet.  Should they be inside or outside the room?  How long should their observation time be in order make this data valid?  Should they observe an entire procedure?  Honestly, I'm not sure how we can collect meaningful data.
I think I should channel Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and rig microscopic cameras in each operating room.  Perhaps I could hang out above the ceiling tiles and get a bird's eye view.  If only I could...
We will try again this week.  Stay tuned...


UnsinkableMB is an Operating Room Nurse at a Little Trauma Center, a Level I trauma center, in Big City, USA, sharing some insight into the world of surgery. Join her on her adventure as a rookie assistant manager in the wonderful world of surgical nursing at Blood, Guts, and Coffee.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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