Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nurse Jackie--and some other nurses

Do you watch Nurse Jackie on Showtime? She is a tough-talkin', rule-breaking, drug-addicted, unfaithful, lying woman--fascinating to watch but I would think hard to live and work with. Yet, her coworkers remain loyal--or did--until this season.

Anyway, I have been hospitalized several times and have no idea if my nurses were hot messes or not. Most, for me anyway, made the sojourn bearable. They are the people you talk to, who try to intervene with arrogant doctors, who come when you are in need (even if it takes a while).

Nurses are close to the action. Therefore, I am not surprised to learn that critical care nurses in 42 hospitals nationwide initiated changes that saved institutions $42 million a year.

This came as a result of the Clinical Care Investigator Academy, a 16-mo leadership and innovation program funded by the Am Assn of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

The nurses in the program had ideas involving healthcare-associated infections, pressure ulcers, delirium, early mobility, falls, and patient handoffs. In Indiana, Mass, NY, NC, PA, and TX:

--Stays in intensive care decreased by 1 day
--Days on mechanical ventilation decreased by about a day
--Infections and complications--down 50%
--Patient falls--down 50%
--Pressure ulcers--down 40%
--Catheter urinary infections--down 70%
--Positive scores for confusion--up 14%

These are frontline nurses, at the bedside, seeing what they see, observing what they observe.

Nurse Jackie may break the rules to help patients--these nurses make them!

I remember being hospitalized once and my veins kind of collapsed from sticks--they called in the floor supervisor, saying she was the woman, she could always insert IVs. She did! Years later, I was admitted to the same hospital and she came in the room. I said, "I remember you!"

Patients do not forget this stuff.

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