Using nurses to empty EDs

Emergency department overcrowding is a common conundrum for hospitals, and nurses can play a key role in emptying out those waiting rooms, according to new research in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Researchers with the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, found that implementing simple, nurse-driven protocols in the ED — before a patient is treated by a doc or nurse practitioner — helped to drop waiting times dramatically. Those protocols allowed nurses to administer certain treatments early on in the hospital visit, such as giving out acetaminophen to patients in pain or troponin for those experiencing chest pain after a heart attack. Using such protocols allowed the Canadian hospital to drop length of stay for patients by as much as four hours in some cases. While the results are promising, the authors cautioned that they are not a cure-all for ED overcrowding. “Nurse-driven protocols are not an ideal solution, but a stopgap measure to deal with the enormous problem of long wait times in emergency departments especially for patients with complex problems,” Matthew Douma, clinical nurse educator at Royal Alexandra Hospital and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “Emergency department crowding will continue to require broad and creative strategies to ensure timely care to our patients.”

Three tips for dealing with your scatological nurse duties

It’s probably the single biggest thing that kept me away from a career in nursing, and I’m sure it’s brought many potential RNs to tears — poop. Well, if you’re a new nurse who is upset about the prospect of dealing with bathroom duties (or a leader tasked with helping those new nurses get accustomed to this duty), Joel Liu has a few pointers. The nurse just posted a five-minute video to his YouTube channel last week, offering three tips for dealing with poop as a nurse. Those include exposing yourself to these situations, educating yourself on the matter and, most importantly to Liu, tell people when you poop. “In all seriousness, if you just humble yourself, you’ll be fine. Nursing is a humbling job and I guarantee you in a few months if you’re just starting out as a nurse, cleaning poop will probably be the last of your concerns,” he says. Over at social media site allnurses.com, other RNs have a few more words of advice for dealing with this issue.

Licensing issues in Ohio

Nurses in the Buckeye State are up in arms after recent technical difficulties in trying to renew their licenses online, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The new eLicensure portal was just rolled out in Ohio last month, but already its been plagued with data input problems and little information on how to utilize the new system. Some nurses have anonymously told a local TV station that the new process is “a slap in the face” and shows a “lack of respect” for the field. To date, about 11,000 of the almost 50,000 nurses in Ohio have renewed their licenses, ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline. Tom Hoyt, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, tells the newspaper they’re working overtime to solve the issues. “It’s frustrating for them and it’s frustrating for us. We’re doing everything we can with the Board of Nursing to address it,” he says.

Rapid fire

Here are a few more nurse-related items from the past week that caught our eye, in brief:

  • The Emergency Nurses Association just released a new toolkit last week to help aid front-line RNs in administering the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone.
  • A new article out of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses offers insights in how to better care for obese patients in the intensive care unit.
  • Doctors and hospitals in California are at odds over whether nurse midwives should be allowed to practice independently, Kaiser Health News reports.
  • Finally, nurses played a key role in designing the new 128-bed Centegra Hospital-Huntley in Illinois, H&HN sister publication Health Facilities Management reports.