Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It Takes A Nurse To Make A Difference

A Message from Mary Naylor, INQRI Program Director

If you’ve ever been in an ICU, you already know what a perfectly orchestrated chaos it can be. Things are constantly changing. Teams of nurses and physicians are treating the sickest of the sick. The chance for deadly errors and infection are great, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. More than 80,000 blood-stream infections occur each year as a result of catheter insertions; one in five patients who have a central line die each year from a blood stream infection.

What you might not know is the role nurses play in whether the ICU team succeeds - or fails - to help these vulnerable patients. We’re learning through the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) that arming nurses with an ICU safety checklist, making sure there is good teamwork and communications in place among caregivers, and empowering patients to ask the right questions about infection control, can make a tremendous difference in keeping patients safe. And along the way, it’s improved turnover among nursing staff.

We take for granted that when we enter the hospital or other health care setting, the nurse will be there to manage our care. But little research exists to demonstrate the link between what nurses do and their impact on patient care and safety. That’s what we’ve set out to do through INQRI. It’s our mission to show that hospitals and health care settings where nurses are valued, where they have a say in quality improvement, and where they are supported in their efforts to keep patients safe and healthy are where you or your loved ones want to receive care. After all, what can me more important than that?

We hope this blog serves as a place for thoughtful discussion about the role nurses are playing in our health care system, and what role they should be playing. We look forward to the conversation.

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