Learning to lift
I'd like to respond to “Don't Pay the Price: Utilize Safe Patient Handling” (Inspiring Change, December, 2013).* As a nurse who had a serious back injury, I'm a big proponent of proper patient transfer and mobilization. Nurses put a lot of time and effort into patient care, and nursing culture needs to embrace workplace safety before injuries happen.
I think the article did a good job illustrating management's role in nurse safety: recognizing the need, providing safety equipment, and ensuring enough equipment for everyone. But, as the authors noted, without an ongoing educational program in place, equipment alone isn't the answer. As direct care providers, we need to take the initiative to learn about the safety equipment and then commit to using it.
I was also very impressed that this program included all affiliated nursing school students. As an instructor at a local university, I appreciate all learning opportunities available to students. Students can be very impressionable, and sometimes their whole practice is shaped by a positive bedside learning moment. What an awesome educational opportunity for students and a great way to protect our new nurses!
Helping the aging population
As an experienced nurse leader in the medical-surgical area, I'm passionate about nursing and evidence-based practice. The article “HELP© Prevent Falls by Preventing Delirium” (May, 2013)* grabbed my attention. After reading the article, I had a concern: Do nurses today have the expertise to properly identify the needs of an older adult patient in healthcare?
As I round on my units, I see that nurses have done well putting evidence-based practices in place to identify patients at risk for falls today. The challenge I see for nurse leaders now and in the future is in providing care for the growing population of patients age 65 or older. Do we have the resources needed for geriatric-friendly EDs? Can we offer educational programs for our teams so they can provide the excellent care our parents and grandparents deserve?
I support the HELP© program as it provides an opportunity to learn skills needed to assess patients for delirium in a timely manner, which helps reduce falls. I encourage nurses and nurse leaders to review their system's plan and strategically prepare to care for older Americans. Looking at resources now will assist in achieving excellent outcomes in the future for hospital teams.
—KIM DOUGHTY, RN
—MARTHA BIRD, BSN, RN
* Individual subscribers can access articles free online at http://www.nursing2014.com.