Working in the medical field, it’s obvious that the equipment and supplies that are used on a patient must be sterile. The seemingly most convenient way to do this is with individually wrapped surgical trays, syringes and bandages to name just a few. Some nurses have asked the critical question, “but what is all this waste doing to our environment?” Now there is a way to care for your patients and the environment in which we live.
Linda Childers from Nurse.com found a unique group of nurses who are doing something to change the current amount of waste that is thrown away each day in the operating room. “When Christine Collins, RN, an OR nurse at Kaiser Permanente’s Roseville (Calif.) Medical Center, finishes assisting with a surgical procedure, she immediately disposes of the blue wrap that is used to cover, wrap and store sterilized equipment and to outfit nurses and surgeons during operations.”
According to the March 2010 journal Academic Medicine, hospitals dispose of more than four billion pounds of waste per year. Where once medical kits were packaged in cloth, now everything seems to be wrapped in plastic. “At first,” Collins says, “nurses were delighted by an invention that offered the convenience of one-time use and was safe for patients, but as years passed, she and her colleagues became concerned about the sheer number of blue wrap thrown away on a daily basis.”
Childers explains that, “A nursing colleague told Collins about the Legacy Health System in Oregon that had been recycling blue wrap for the past decade, turning the OR staple into recycled wash buckets, lawn furniture, flowerpots, squirt bottles, plastic lumber for picnic tables and thousands of other commonly used products.” Collins and her colleagues now recycle approximately 2,500 pounds each month which adds up to about 32,500 pounds each year. Imagine if every hospital did this! Childers is also expanding the materials that she is trying to recycle. ““We’re now trying to capture all the clean plastics that are thrown in the trash from the OR,” Collins says. “This includes bottles that contain sterile water and saline, plain IV bags and outer wrappers, to our packs that our drapes come in.”
If you’re interested in becoming part of the medical field in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara or Sacramento, look into Unitek College. In a short amount of time you can receive a quality education to get you on your way to a new career. Change you world in ways you never dreamed possible!
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