First up in this week’s nursing news is a look at how nurses impact patient care in many ways, including enforcing basic infection control compliance in the hospital setting. The Mayo Clinic Florida in Jacksonville is one hospital that strives, like many others, to be a leader in the field of health care and research. They have a very aggressive hand washing compliance program there with frequent audits and reviews of policies in an effort to improve.

Nurses Improve Hand Washing Compliance

hand washingInternal audits of the program shows that hand washing compliance stays between 95-100% which is pretty good. They want it to be 100% all the time and so they started looking at those areas where compliance was routinely 100% in their facility. They found that it was in areas where nurses were enlisted to be those who enforced the policy as patient safety advocates.

When the nurses in an area were empowered to enforce the policy, the hand-washing rates improved. This included being able to remind any member of the hospital staff, no matter their position, to wash hands before and between each patient contact situation. It also was seen as a way to empower patients to be their own advocates and make sure that any health professional and even their guests used hand cleaning stations before coming in contact with them.

I know that not every hospital has nurses who are so empowered. Not every hospital has given the nurses the back-up they need to tell another healthcare professional like a physician that they need to wash their hands before they see the patients. This is a policy that has to be supported from the top and when it isn’t, well, that’s a hospital that likely has a lot of issues with not just staff relations but also infection control and likely everything else.

What are you doing to empower nurses in your facilities? I want to know so if you have an article like this or a similar program, tell me about it. Maybe I can feature it on a future episode here of the Nursing Show.

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Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Zika Virus Review with Vince Racaniello and Episode 384.

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