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Nurses Add a Message on Their Scrubs

I thought this story was interesting and thought it you’d like it, too. There are hospitals in England that have nurses wearing “Do Not Disturb” signs over their scrubs so they can get more work done. I doubt this will come stateside, but as a student in an ADN degree program there are a lot of things that hospitals are trying to do to save a buck or two.

In the U.K.’s Daily Mail, Jo MacFarlane writes about the controversy that these hospitals are causing with nurses that are donning “Do Not Disturb” messages. “The hospital says that interruptions, such as patients asking questions about toilets and meal times, stop nurses from doing their job properly and could lead to patients being given the wrong medication.”

“After a successful trial at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, the uniforms are being introduced for staff nurses and matrons in hospitals across the country, to be worn during drug rounds on wards.

“During these times, patients will be encouraged not to speak to the nurses. Instead, they will have to address concerns unrelated to their medication to care assistants, who will accompany their more senior colleagues on their rounds. The red tabards are worn on top of a nurse’s uniform and have large white print on the front, which reads: ‘Do Not Disturb. Drug Round in Progress,’” writes MacFarlane.

A study was taken to see if this new procedure was successful. It found that on average a nurse is interrupted six times during her rounds, but with the sign she was interrupted only five times (and that was considered a “significant” improvement.) It also found that there was a slight reduction in medication errors which is the most common error that most hospitals face.

What happens if a patient approaches a nurse bearing the big red sign? “‘What we do when interrupted is simply turn round to face the patient and point to the words.” Umm… I’m sure that is great for patient recovery…

Obviously patients aren’t taking too well to this new system. As a student in a registered nursing college, one of the first things you learn is to care for your patients. Multitasking is just part of the job and interacting with patients is as important as the medications that are administered.

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