The “difficile” in Clostridium difficile is a French word meaning “difficult.” The name choice was no accident. C. diff, now known as Clostridiodes difficile, is the most common hospital-acquired infection, with 453,000 cases and 29,300 deaths reported annually. Since 2000, there has been a marked increase in the number and severity of cases.
According to the Joint Commission, high reliability healthcare organizations must demonstrate “consistent excellence in quality and safety across all services maintained over long periods of time.” It further notes that currently there is no healthcare facility that meets these standards. Despite the bleak statement, the Commission believes that the goal, while lofty, is achievable.
For those not familiar with the Joint Commission, it is a not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies over 22,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the U.S. Accreditation and certification are completely voluntary, but entities that pass muster are recognized as prioritizing and delivering high quality patient care in a safe environment.
Have you ever wondered if the physical tasks you perform at work are safe? In healthcare, for instance, overexertion from repetitive manual patient handling is the primary cause of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) for staff. Because daily duties routinely involve heavy manual lifting, pushing, or pulling, healthcare has the highest rate of MSDs among all industries. And different medical specialties come with different dangers. For instance, endoscopy (GI) staff must worry about the risks of applying abdominal pressure during colonoscopy, especially on obese patients.
Topics: colonoscopy, nurse, endoscopy, nursing, safe patient handling, patient safety, GI nursing, endoscopy nursing, endoscopist, injury endoscopist, nurse injury, endoscope, OSHA, endoscopy tech, Musculoskeletal, MSD
In the recent past, hospitals and healthcare organization balked at the cost of safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) equipment, for instance, patient lifts. Over the last few years, however, awareness of work-related injury (and its costs) among healthcare staff has grown. In addition, recent studies indicate that SPHM investments pay for themselves quickly. That said, there are quite a few SPHM tools and technologies with a low price point; some are even free!
Inadequate staffing and substandard patient handling equipment can get in the way of a nurse’s ability to care for patients. And then there is the human factor. Walk into any office break room, and you will find a wide variety of temperaments and personalities. In fact, sitcoms and movies that parody workplace culture are commonplace. In healthcare, however, where a patient’s welfare is in question, disruptive behavior is no laughing matter. HR problems can escalate quickly and can have dramatic negative impacts.
In 2018, the number of U.S. workers involved in strikes and lockouts was at its highest rate since 1986. This is despite the fact that percentage of U.S. workers who belong to a union continues to fall; the current rate is 10.5%.
A recent article in Endoscopy International raises the question, “Should the endoscopist be considered and trained like an athlete?” Although those outside the field of endoscopy might not immediately see the connection, because of the physical nature of a gastroenterologist’s job, the issue is an important one. And given the fact that one out of every two endoscopy staff will eventually suffer a work-related musculoskeletal (MSK) injury, the same question should be asked of nurses and nursing assistants.
Topics: colonoscopy, nurse, endoscopy, nursing, safe patient handling, patient safety, GI nursing, endoscopy nursing, looping in colonoscopy, endoscopist, injury endoscopist, nurse injury, endoscope, OSHA, endoscopy tech
The 2018 list of top 10 health technology hazards ranks the "failure to consistently and effectively reprocess flexible endoscopes" as #2. It may seem surprising, but when scopes are not thoroughly cleaned, dried, and stored, they can harbor Pseudomonas (associated with sepsis), salmonella, E. coli, and worse. These microorganisms can then be passed to patients undergoing an endoscopic procedure, like a colonoscopy, and to staff handling the scopes before, during, and after the case.