When Thomas Eric Duncan first came into the hospital, he arrived with an elevated temperature, but was sent home.
On his return visit to the hospital, he was brought in by ambulance under the suspicion from him and family members that he may have Ebola.
Mr. Duncan was left for several hours, not in isolation, in an area where other patients were present.
No one knew what the protocols were or were able to verify what kind of personal protective equipment should be worn and there was no training.
Subsequently a nurse supervisor arrived and demanded that he be moved to an isolation unit– yet faced resistance from other hospital authorities.
Lab specimens from Mr. Duncan were sent through the hospital tube system without being specially sealed and hand delivered. The result is that the entire tube system by which all lab specimens are sent was potentially contaminated.Continue reading…
If you have been at your nursing job for a while, you’ve probably almost forgotten.
Forgotten what it was like to come in to the healthcare system you now work for and realize there are hundreds of new protocols for you to learn and adhere by as a nurse. After years of routine, you now go about your day as if you actually have some choice in the way you give care.
At one point you probably did. I was not around during this age of nursing. The age when we had autonomy. Freedom to practice. Freedom to be innovative.
Today, I am somewhat saddened by the current state of the nursing profession. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE what I do. I am so thankful for the opportunities set before me.
But whatever happened to “nursing judgment”? Or “nursing decision”?
I can’t tell you how much recently I’ve heard the phrase, “It is hospital policy that…” “You can’t do that, it is protocol that…”
I understand the need for protocols. They help us in the case that something goes wrong and the hospital gets sued. Did the nurse adhere to the protocol? If not, they will be subject to disciplinary action and take the fall. If something goes wrong and there is no protocol, the hospital can say in its defense: “There is now a protocol in place.”
Maybe a less cynical need for protocols: promote and regulate evidenced-based practice among nurses. Evidenced-based practice was developed for a reason: it brings good outcomes and protects the patients.
Even so, to me it seems we are being protocoled to extinction.