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Cleaner Hospitals, Healthier Patients

There are always new advances and products that make life more efficient in the hospital. Remember when Latex free gloves were all the rage? Now it appears that copper surfaces in the ICU can drastically cut bacteria levels and make for a safer environment for patients. Who knew?

As a LVN to RN student, you’re probably swamped with clinicals and memorizing parts of the body that have ten syllables or more. Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of the advancements that are continually happening in the medical field. While all the products may not pertain to specialties across the board, who knows when these little tidbits of trivia may come in handy? The more knowledge you have might make you stand out in an interview.

According to reuters.com reporter Chris Kelly, “Antimicrobial copper surfaces in intensive care units (ICU) kill 97 percent of bacteria that can cause hospital-acquired infections, according to preliminary results of a multisite clinical trial in the United States… The results also showed a 40 percent reduction in the risk of acquiring an infection,” explains Kelly. “The study, presented at the World Health Organization’s 1st International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC) in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday, backed what research teams at three U.S. hospitals suggested four years ago: replacing the most heavily contaminated touch surfaces in ICUs with antimicrobial copper will control bacteria growth and cut down on infection rates.”

These numbers are quite impressive and copper seems to be a necessary change that hospitals should seriously consider. Kelly relates these frightening statistics: “Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease, strokes and cancer…According to estimates provided by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in every 20 hospitalized U.S. patients acquires an HAI, resulting in 100,000 lives lost each year.”

There are several issues I wish the article addressed: How much would this cost? How does the copper eliminate bacteria? What kind of upkeep would the metal need? However, with the high numbers of patient HAIs and the impressive results, should cost and upkeep be major hindrances to adopting this new standard of cleanliness?

If you are in an LVN to RN program in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is an amazing time to get into the medical profession. With new advancements continually on the horizon, it will be exciting to see what lies ahead.

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