The inappropriate and unnecessary overuse of antibiotics within hospital and outpatient settings has led to the rise of drug-resistant strains of bacteria over the past several decades. These “super” bugs cause 2 million illnesses and over 23,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1
. In March of 2015, the White House issued a National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
. The goals of the plan include1
- Slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections.
- Strengthen national one-health surveillance efforts to combat resistance.
- Advance development and use of rapid and innovative diagnostic tests for identification and characterization of resistant bacteria.
- Accelerate basic and applied research and development for new antibiotics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
- Improve international collaboration and capacities for antibiotic-resistance prevention, surveillance, control, and antibiotic research and development.
By 2020, a primary outcome of Goal 1 will be the establishment of antibiotic stewardship programs in all acute care hospitals and across all healthcare settings2
. The core elements of hospital antibiotic stewardship programs will include1,2
- Establishing leadership commitment by dedicating necessary human, financial and information technology resources.
- Appointing a single physician leader, ideally formally trained in infectious diseases, responsible for program outcomes.
- Appointing a single pharmacist leader with drug expertise, responsible for working to improve antibiotic use.
- Securing support from the multidisciplinary team, including infection prevention control, nursing, information technology, laboratory and quality improvement.
- Implementing policies and interventions to improve antibiotic use, ensuring that patients receive the right antibiotic at the right time at the right dose for the right duration.
- Implementing at least one recommended action, such as systemic evaluation of ongoing treatment after a set period of initial treatment (i.e. “antibiotic time out” after 48 hours).
- Monitoring antibiotic prescribing and resistance programs.
- Educating clinicians about resistance and optimal prescribing.
Healthcare leaders and clinicians in all settings should focus efforts on implementing these recommendations in order to decrease antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Myrna B. Schnur, RN, MSN
When it comes to never events and nursing, “prevention is key,” explains Janet Thomas MS, RN-BC. As our manager of continuing education accreditation and compliance, Thomas recognizes the vital role nurses play against medical errors that should never occur.
“Never events are costly to the organization you work in and can have a major impact on its reputation,” she says. In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a non-reimbursement policy
for certain medical incidents in an effort to improve patient safety. These occurrences are considered “reasonably preventable,” through the use of evidenced-based principles. When a never event occurs, the event is publicly reported, meaning that the public is made of aware of the preventable, and sometimes fatal, mistake.
As nurses, you are the frontline of defense for your patients. “You really want to learn how to keep these incidents from occurring in the first place,” explains Thomas. Lippincott NursingCenter and CEConnection have created a series of Never Events Collections
to help you maximize your patient’s safety and keep these incidents from happening in your workplace. You will also be able to meet your continuing education needs, as CE is included in these collections.
Never Events: Manifestations of poor glycemic control
8.0 contact hours - $24.99
Never Events: Air embolism
6.7 contact hours - $19.99
Never Events: Foreign objects unintentionally retained after surgery
6.0 contact hours - $19.99
Never Events: Pressure ulcers, stage III & IV
7.2 contact hours - $34.99
Never Events: Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI)
7.7 contact hours - $19.99
Never Events: DVT & PE associated with knee and hip replacements
8.6 contact hours - $24.99
Never Events: Falls and Trauma
7.0 contact hours - $19.99
Never Events: Surgical site infections
6.5 contact hours - $19.99
Never Events: Preventing central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI)
6.8 contact hours - $34.95
Never Events: Administration of incompatible blood
6.3 contact hours - $19.99
How have never events affected your care? What steps are you taking to prevent them from happening? Share your story in the comments below.
Posted: 9/17/2015 7:52:35 AM
| with 0 comments
Categories: Patient Safety
It’s been a busy few days in the nursing community – first with the high of Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson's moving monologue on being a nurse and then with the low of some uneducated comments on a celebrity talk show.
First, the monologue
I was so impressed with Miss Johnson’s monologue for her talent portion of the Miss America pageant. Nursing is
a talent, as is story-telling which she did very well in the competition. Miss Johnson shared the story of her relationship with a patient and what they learned from each other. She taught him that he’s not just
an Alzheimer’s patient and he taught her that she’s not just
So often, we nurses are tough on ourselves! We use phrases such as “just a nurse” despite knowing just how important our role is. While I cringed when I first heard her use those words, I was relieved to see the point that she was making. Take a look…
Then, The View
In their discussion about the Miss America pageant, the panel on The View made some derogatory remarks about Miss Johnson’s monologue, saying that she “basically read her emails,” calling it “basically hilarious,” and asking “Why does she have a doctor’s stethoscope on?” Wow – this stung initially and then really angered me. And I am not the only one! I’ve spent a good part of this evening reading the posts and comments in support of Miss Johnson’s monologue and I’m also really enjoying the new hashtags (#nursingismytalent, #nursesmatter, and #respectnurses, to name a few), as well as the selfies nurses are posting with their stethoscopes.
The point is being made – we are nurses and we are proud of it! Keep sharing your passion and educating others about the work that we do and the difference that we make!
Lauren Everingham RN works on the Pediatric Medicine and Pediatric Short Stay units of All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Everingham is a second-career nurse. She originally studied writing at Muhlenberg College and worked as an editor for a healthcare magazine. Feeling drawn to a more service-oriented job, she earned her master’s degree in teaching English literature from Western Carolina University and briefly taught English in a North Carolina high school. Everingham quickly realized that she would prefer to serve children and families in a different capacity and went on to earn her BSN from the university’s nursing program. She finally found her home as a pediatric nurse.
Now, equipped with her nursing expertise, Everingham just came back from a week-long medical mission to the Dominican Republic with Team Tampa Bay
. There, she used her nursing knowledge to help set up medical clinics and provide care to the people who reside in the bateys, which are small villages in the sugar cane fields of La Romana
Through our email interview, we discussed why Everingham decided to pursue nursing, how it has changed her life, and what her medical mission taught her.
*After our interview, Hurricane Erika resulted in unforeseen tragedy and disaster in the Dominican Republic. To make a donation, please visit the Caribbean Red Cross
Q: After earning an advanced degree in teaching, what made you decide to switch careers to nursing?
I quickly became disenfranchised by the state of education in North Carolina—its teachers are some of the lowest paid in the United States, the state government has eliminated the master’s degree supplement, and when I graduated in mid-2010, teaching positions were being cut left and right due to our struggling economy. For me, the best part about teaching was the kids, so I sought out a career that would allow me to help children while also securing my own future. Turns out, the third career’s the charm! Plus, I use my teaching skills every single day as a nurse.
Q: How has becoming a nurse impacted your life?
Being a nurse in a children’s hospital means I am daily reminded to count my blessings. I am sure all nurses feel this way. It is so easy to take your own health and well-being for granted. My job puts me face to face with children and families coping with heartbreaking traumas, difficult chronic illnesses, terminal disease, abuse and neglect. I am more aware of how fortunate I have been, and I am honored to be able to help these families through a difficult time in their lives.
Q: What made you choose pediatrics as your specialty?
Above, I mentioned some of the dark things I witness as a pediatric nurse. But, I also experience joy at work every day: seeing mermaids roll down the hallway in wheelchairs to visit patients, watching a child hug his new foster parent for the first time, and helping new parents pose for a picture with their tiny baby who they finally get to bring home after three months in the NICU. Every time I walk into the hospital, through the brightly colored hallways, past the pirate ship playground, and into the elevator where a child’s voice announces, “Going up!,” I think how lucky I am to work in pediatrics. I wish adult hospitals were more like children’s hospitals; I think people would heal faster.
Q: Can you describe why your medical mission to the Dominican Republic was important to you?
I have always wanted to participate in a project like this. My life has been full of opportunity and I’ve been fortunate to have access to education and training. The least I can do is use my skills and education to help people who don’t even have access to basic medical care. Plus, I knew it would be a life-changing experience. It’s one thing to be educated about the struggles of people living in poverty around the world; it’s another thing to see it firsthand. I know I gained more from the people in the bateys of La Romana than I could ever offer to them.
Q: What was it like working in nursing outside of the U.S.?
We worked with Dominican physicians and we had very limited resources, so needless to say it was a lot different than nursing here. We navigated language barriers and encountered different practices in dosing medications. It was also eye opening. One of the older patients we saw had a blood pressure of 210/110. Here in the states, we would have done a comprehensive workup for this patient. There, we had to give the gentleman some blood pressure medication and briefly educate him, and that was it. Hopefully there will be some follow up with those types of patients, but we will not be there to see that, so it was pretty unsettling.
Q: What was your favorite part of your trip?
The kids. They were full of joy and so proud of what little they had. At the first batey we visited, child after child took our hands and led us around to show us their fruit trees. Another day, a group of about 15 kids walked us out into the sugar cane fields, cut down some sugar cane, and showed us how to taste it. The sense of community among the batey children was so beautiful to watch. An older child would give a small child medicine or carry him down a hill when the younger child was afraid. They played in large groups of widely varying ages. They walked around the village holding hands. It was inspiring, and I hope to provide my future children with that sense of community.
Q: You worked with other medical and non-medical volunteers. How did your skills as a nurse fit in interprofessionally on your mission?
A: The team was made up of 10 American nurses and several Dominican doctors and translators. In previous years, non-medical volunteers (often teenagers) have also accompanied Team Tampa Bay and helped hand out supplies and play with the children. As nurses, our role was to take blood pressures and measure blood sugars, fill prescriptions, administer medications, and hand out supplies. We were able to ensure correct dosing of medications and appropriate antibiotic prescriptions, as well as screen patients for potential surgical needs or other in-depth follow up care. We also helped the translators to educate patients about how to take their medications properly.
Q: What is the biggest issue that you encountered with healthcare in La Romana?
Access to care. The bateys are often in very remote areas, requiring us to ride 30 to 45 minutes or longer on our school bus from the city. The folks living out there do not have cars, and there is no public transportation. So most of the time, there is no way to get to a doctor’s office or a hospital. This is frequently a problem for women in labor—they often give birth in the batey without any midwife, nurse or medical assistance because they simply cannot get to a hospital. It can be a life-threatening situation for both mom and baby.
Q: What will happen to the medical clinics your team set up now that you left the country?
The medical clinics that we set up are temporary—we set them up and take them down all in one day. However, the Good Samaritan Mission
is a large organization that is in place year round and hosts more than 60 mission teams throughout the year. Each team visits several bateys and in total the mission reaches approximately 3,000 people in more than 100 bateys each year. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough teams and supplies to reach every batey each month, so many of the people we saw were provided with a 30-day supply of medication but will not have the opportunity to visit another clinic for months. When it comes to cardiac and diabetic medications, for example, it is a really big problem.
Q: Would you recommend other nurses sign up for a medical mission with Team Tampa Bay, and what are some of the other projects they could get involved in?
I would definitely recommend joining Team Tampa Bay on a medical mission to La Romana. It was an incredible experience. The leaders of our team work hard to organize these trips every year and they are always in need of more volunteers, supplies, and donations. Nurses can also organize their own mission team through Good Samaritan
or get involved with some of their other projects, including the clean water, construction, and Sugar Cane Kids programs.
Q: Finally, what do you see for the future of nursing?
As I mentioned above, nurses are uniquely poised to provide solutions for many of the problems we face in our health care system today. Forward-thinking and innovative nurses, whether in bedside care, outpatient, management, or advanced practice, will seize opportunities to lead us toward a more preventative, holistic approach to healthcare.
*Disclaimer: The author of this blog has a personal relationship with the interviewed party.
Do you know an inspiring nurse to be featured for the next Nurse On the Move? Email your submissions to ClinicalEditor@NursingCenter.com
Posted: 9/3/2015 9:10:54 AM
| with 1 comments
fter a short hiatus, Nurses On the Move
is back and better than ever! I am excited to bring you our next nurse
leader, Lisa A. Gorski MS, RN, HHCNS-BC, CRNI, FAAN. With more than 30 years in the field, Gorski is an expert in both home healthcare and infusion nursing. As a clinical nurse specialist at Wheaton Franciscan Home Health & Hospice in Wisconsin, an editorial board member of Home Healthcare Now
, an associate consultant for OASIS ANSWERS, Inc., and a published author, her knowledge of the nursing profession is truly impressive.
Through our phone interview, I spoke with Gorski about why she decided to enter into home healthcare, her time as president of the Infusion Nurses Society, and what advice she has for a nurse starting their career.
BONUS: The current issue of Home Healthcare Now is FREE until August 15th on NursingCenter.
Q: Why did you choose nursing as a profession?
I wanted to be a nurse since I was a young child. When I was 5 or 6 years old, I drew a picture and wrote a story about how I wanted to be a nurse and help people! That desire never waned. In high school, my intense interest in the sciences and a summer of volunteer work in a hospital as a ”candy striper” reinforced my goal to become a nurse.
Q: What attracted you to home healthcare?
I knew that I wanted to work with patients on a longer term basis. I had several graduate school colleagues who worked in home healthcare, and at the time, changes in reimbursement led to shorter hospital length of stay and more transitioning to home care. I saw a potential future in home healthcare.
The challenges and opportunities in this specialty were apparent to me, including working with families, as well as patients, and working with them over longer periods of time to keep them functioning well in their home. There is a great need for employing effective patient education to help patients manage their own care. While the assessment and intervention skills that I gained in my acute care experience served me, I needed to develop a new body of knowledge. While I could manage blood sugar levels in a critically ill patient, working with home care patients to manage their diabetes was a different challenge that required not only the clinical focus on diabetes, but also a focus on living with a chronic illness. In graduate school, I studied the issues related to living with chronic illnesses. One of the books I read during graduate school still sits on my bookshelf and still provides me with perspective – Chronic Illness and the Quality of Life
by Strauss and Glaser (1975).
Q: What’s the biggest challenge related to home healthcare and how do you combat it?
One challenge is time management. Home care nurses travel and generally see five to six patients on the same day. Depending on the needs of the patients, there is also a considerable amount of time coordinating care and communicating with other involved healthcare professionals. As any home care nurse will tell you, there is a considerable burden of documentation. And you must be accountable to that patient and family. When you leave the home, you have to think about what happens or could happen when you leave – have you addressed critical issues to ensure that your patient will be safe when you are gone, as there is no one else there until you get back. Think about the patient with a running infusion of a chemotherapy drug. Does the patient understand what to do and who to call if an alarm occurs or if there is an adverse reaction; is the phone number to call for problems readily available?
On the bigger picture side, the pressures of ensuring positive patient outcomes with reimbursement restraints are challenging. An overarching goal of home care is to keep patients safe in their homes. The hospitalization rate for home health is a publically reported outcome, and hospitals are penalized when patients return back to the hospital within 30 days. As a nurse who has worked in home care for 30 years, the level of patient acuity has certainly increased. I believe the challenge for home care nurses is to become less focused on the tasks to be done, such as wound care or other treatments, and more focused on identifying the nursing diagnoses and managing the outcomes. Keeping patients at home requires that the nurse possess exceptional assessment skills, that risk factors for re-hospitalization are identified and mitigated, that ongoing monitoring identifies and reports early/subtle changes in condition to allow early intervention, and that there is significant attention paid to medication management.
Q: Why are you passionate about infusion nursing?
I became a home care nurse during the mid-1980s during that period of great growth in the home care industry. Transitioning patients who required infusion therapy from the hospital to home was a growing trend.
At that time, I managed many patients who required home infusion therapy from simple IV antibiotics to complex parenteral nutrition. My critical care skills combined with my growing experience in home care issues served me well in that area of practice. However, one of the issues that I identified was that exceptional IV therapy skills are not enough in home care. Because patients and families are involved in various aspects of self-care related to the IV infusion, the home care nurse’s skills in patient education are equally important. Patients are often anxious or may have functional limitations that impact the ability to learn and manage, and these must be addressed. My first published article in Home Healthcare Nurse
in 1987 addressed the patient education issue. I later wrote three books on the topic of home infusion therapy and am in the process of writing another.
Q: You served as the president of the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) from 2007 to 2008. How did that role impact your profession in nursing?
After being involved in the INS for many years in a variety of local chapter and national positions, it was an honor to serve as president for that year. Subsequently, I continued to serve INS as the chairperson for the 2011 Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice and am currently serving again in that role for the standards that will be published in 2016. There is a rapidly growing research base for infusion therapy by investigators across the world. Working with my amazing infusion therapy colleagues to search and review the literature and to develop evidence-based recommendations and educate the infusion community has contributed to improved patient outcomes and reduction of preventable complications. My INS involvement has led to so many opportunities. I have had the pleasure of doing many presentations across the country and some international presentations. I regularly talk to or have email discussions with nurses, pharmacists, and physicians regarding infusion related issues and practices. I recently had the opportunity to present in Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina and will be doing presentations in China later this summer. Clearly, nurses not only in the U.S., but across the globe, are striving to provide the best practices for their patients.
Q: The nursing journal, Home Healthcare Now, was previously titled Home Healthcare Nurse. Why did this publication change its name?
A: Home healthcare nurses have always worked collaboratively with other disciplines, including physical, occupational, and speech therapists, social workers, and pharmacists to name a few. The collaborative relationship has always been strong in homecare – this was evident to me from the minute I became a home care nurse. The focus is on interprofessional care, and I think the new title reflects that.
Q: For a nurse starting out, what would be your number one piece of advice?
Nurses today have so many opportunities in many different settings. When you leave a position, you want to feel as if you’ve mastered it. Really learn your first job and develop your skills, especially in working with other healthcare providers. Identify where your strengths lie and use them to determine where you want to go. Also, get involved in nursing organizations relevant to your practice. I am also a member of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists and the American Nurses Association, which have provided me with more information and knowledge and more contact with colleagues who share similar interests and challenges. I recently attended the International Home Care Nurses Organization (IHCNO) where I was inspired by reports of research and home care practices in several countries. Involvement in practice beyond our daily organizational work keeps us fresh and motivated!
Q: Finally, what do you envision for the future of nursing?
It is really bright! There are so many opportunities for nurses in a variety of settings whether clinical or non-clinical. Nurses are shaping healthcare policy and are increasingly involved in politics. Our critical thinking, expertise, and leadership make an incredible impact in patient care. We are
*Do you know an inspiring nurse to be featured for the next Nurse On the Move? Email your submissions to
Posted: 8/4/2015 8:10:59 AM
| with 1 comments
The scope of nurse practitioner (NP) practice is regulated by the state government. Currently, 21 states and Washington, D.C have passed legislation allowing nurse practitioners full practice authority. This permits NPs in these states to independently diagnose, make treatment decisions, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications without the oversight of a physician. Research unequivocally supports the safety, effectiveness and quality of the care provided by nurse practitioners as a safe alternate to physician care (Horrocks et al. 2002, Mundinger et al. 2000). Furthermore, this model for nurse practitioner care is endorsed by the groundbreaking 2010 Institute of Medicine report titled, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health
. This document comprehensively analyzed ways to expand access to quality care for persons in the United States and supports NPs practicing to the full extent of their license and education. This movement is gaining momentum as NPs have made great strides in lobbying for full practice authority.
A recent article in the New York Times,
“Doctoring without the Doctor
” tells the story of a nurse practitioner in rural Nebraska who, upon graduation, was unable to practice in her field because she was unable to find a collaborating physician to work with for a reasonable cost and within a reasonable distance. The article goes on to describe the recent legislation in Nebraska, which, in April 2015, became the 20th state to pass legislation allowing nurse practitioners to practice without a collaborating physician. While the overall tone of the article was supportive and brought to light the issues of access to healthcare in rural America, the title insinuates an effort for NPs to take on duties and responsibilities that they were not trained to perform (i.e. providing the services of a doctor with no doctor). In reality, the legislation has little to do with the nurse practitioner practicing without “the Doctor;” the impetus for full practice authority lies in a goal to eliminate barriers to healthcare access rooted in old, outdated laws and regulatory barriers that prevent nurse practitioners from practicing to the full degree and providing the full scope of services for which we were educated for. Furthermore, nurse practitioners do not wish to eliminate collegial collaboration with physicians or any members of the healthcare team. We all understand that true quality care takes a team of healthcare providers from multiple disciplines. Nurse practitioners are not lobbying to “doctor” without a “doctor” as the title implies. In essence, the NP movement to expand legislation to support scope of practice will provide increased patient access to proven high quality care,expanding the healthcare work force to allow access to care in geographic regions where patients have limited access to quality care.
As nurses, we must continue to support legislation and promote our profession, as well as continue to educate the public on misconceptions about the profession. There were over 400 comments in response to the New York Times
article. Reading through them brings to light an abundance of support from the public and healthcare community, but, unfortunately, also highlights continued misconceptions of the public and healthcare providers on the role and scope of NP practice in the U.S., as well as misconceptions as to the goal of full practice authority. One comment from a physician is as follows, “I may be biased, but I am yet to encounter a nurse practitioner with the competence, (I believe) intelligence and with the sense of responsibility of my physician.” Another physician writes, “If NPs want independent practice, so be it. Just make them get their own malpractice insurance and not be tied in any way to any physician, supervising or not. Take full responsibility and liability for all their own medical decisions and see how it plays out. It's only fair.”(Tavernase, 2015). These type of comments shade the topic to appear as a turf battle, when in reality, the majority of NPs and physicians work together seamlessly in our healthcare system.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has been a main supporter of removing barriers to NP practice. In an issues brief
they summarize the goals best as to “remove barriers and obsolete legislation and regulations that do not recognize NPs’ advanced education and clinical preparation to furnish the full range of services that they are licensed to provide.”
Recently, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (PCNP) organized a lobby day in support of a house and senate bill to support full practice authority. PCNP has dedicated significant time and effort to ensure PA laws are udated. To date, PA has yet to pass this legislation. What types of struggles have you encountered in your state for full practice authority? Do you have full practice authority in your state and if so, has there been any noticeable changes in your day to day practice? Have the physicians, patients, and other nurses in your life supported this work? Please share your thoughts in the comment below.
Megan Doble, MSN, RN, CRNP
AANP Issues Brief: Remove Barriers to Nurse Practitioners’ Ability To Practice.Retrieved from:
Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine. The future of nursing: leading change, advancing health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2011
Horrocks, S., Anderson, E. & Salisbury, C. (2002). Systematic review of whether nurse practitioners working in primary care can provide equivalent care to doctors. BMJ, 324, 819
Mundinger, M.O., Kane, R.L., Lenz, E.R., Totten, A. M., Tsai, W., Cleary, P.D., Friedewald, W.T., Siu, A.L. &Shelanski, M.L. (2000). Primary Care Outcomes in Patients Treated by Nurse Practitioners or Physicians: A Randomized Trial. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 283(1), 59-68
Tavernise, S. (2015). Doctoring, without the doctor. New York Times. May 25, 2015.Retreived from: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/26/health/rural-nebraska-offers-stark-view-of-nursing-autonomy-debate.html
The Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is an issue in many countries that are often regarded to have the most advanced healthcare systems. In fact, the rate at which mothers are dying as a result of pregnancy or childbirth in the United States continues to rise despite the U.S. spending more money than any other country in the world in regards to pregnancy hospitalization and childbirth.
Nursing@Georgetown prepared a useful infographic on the topic of Maternal Health around the World in hope to explore not only the cause of these deaths but also how they may be prevented in the future. The infographic dives into some of the most important statistics such as leading causes, MMR across the world, the midwifery model, and more.
Brought to you by Nursing@Georgetown: Nurse Midwife programs
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has been making headlines since 2012 when it was first discovered in Saudi Arabia. A recent outbreak of MERS has occurred in the Republic of Korea affecting 150 people and claiming the lives of over a dozen to date. Close to 3,000 people in South Korea are under quarantine. Two unrelated cases of MERS were diagnosed in the United States in 2014 and both patients have made a full recovery.
While not considered a public health emergency by the World Health Organization, viruses can mutate and could cause a global pandemic. As a healthcare provider, it is important that you have an understanding of MERS and appropriate infection control practices in order to identify and prevent its further spread. As an educator, you play a critical role in informing patients about the signs and symptoms of MERS and strategies to avoid contracting this highly contagious disease.
What is MERS?
MERS is caused by a coronavirus (CoV), a group of viruses that are responsible for illnesses ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Almost 1,200 cases of human MERS-CoV infection have been reported and over 440 deaths (35% mortality rate) have been attributed to it. The origin of the virus is unknown but is suspected to have come from an animal source. MERS-CoV is thought to spread from an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as through coughing. The incubation period for MERS (time from exposure to MERS-CoV to symptoms) is typically five to six days but can range from two to 14 days. There are no specific treatments for patients aside from supportive therapy to relieve the symptoms. Patients with mild to no symptoms have made a full recovery.
- Fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, severe acute respiratory disease
- Chills, chest pain, body aches, sore throat, malaise, headache
- Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain
Severe complications include:
Who’s susceptible or at high risk?
- People with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney failure, chronic lung disease
- People with weakened immune systems such as cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or organ transplant patients receiving immunosuppressive drugs
Need-to-know information for nurses
- If your patient exhibits fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, assess if he or she has
- traveled to a country in or near the Arabian Peninsula within 14 days of symptoms onset.
- been in contact with someone who has traveled to the Arabian Peninsula within 14 days of symptoms onset.
- a history of being in a healthcare facility (as a patient, worker or visitor) in the Republic of Korea within 14 days of symptom onset.
- been in close contact with a confirmed MERS patient while the patient was ill.
- MERS is a reportable disease and local health departments should be notified of any suspected MERS cases.
- Strict infection-control measures should be used while managing suspected and confirmed cases of MERS, including hand hygiene; contact, droplet and airborne precautions along with full personal protective equipment – gown, gloves, mask and eye protection (goggles or face shield). MERS patients should be placed in a negative pressure room.
Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for complete recommendations and Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals
in the detection, evaluation and care of MERS patients.
Myrna B. Schnur, RN, MSN
Posted: 6/1/2015 12:08:51 PM
Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP
| with 3 comments
A recent Quick Quiz on our Facebook page
resulted in a mix of responses. Do you know what word is used to describe the amount of stretch on the myocardium at the end of diastole? The responses were split between preload and afterload.
Let’s take a closer look at what these terms mean.
Preload, also known as the left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP), is the amount of ventricular stretch at the end of diastole. Think of it as the heart loading up for the next big squeeze of the ventricles during systole. Some people remember this by using an analogy of a balloon – blow air into the balloon and it stretches; the more air you blow in, the greater the stretch.
Afterload, also known as the systemic vascular resistance (SVR), is the amount of resistance the heart must overcome to open the aortic valve and push the blood volume out into the systemic circulation. If you think about the balloon analogy, afterload is represented by the knot at the end of the balloon. To get the air out, the balloon must work against that knot.
Cardiac Output & Cardiac Index
Cardiac output is the volume of blood the heart pumps per minute. Cardiac output is calculated by multiplying the stroke volume by the heart rate; normal cardiac output is about 4 to 8 L/min, but varies depending on the body’s metabolic needs. Cardiac index is a calculation of the cardiac output divided by the person’s body surface area (BSA).
So, if you answered ‘D’ to the quiz above, you’re right!