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How Will Patient Safety Checklists Impact Nurses?

Yesterday in Nevada the Patient Protection Checklist bill (AB 280) was signed into legislation. Although this bill is only enforced in Nevada, it may cause a ripple effect throughout the country and impact current nurses and those who are in an LVN to RN program.

The basic principle of the patient protection checklist is simple: “providers on the healthcare team should call out basic patient information and a plan prior to procedure with the aim to prevent medical errors and improve patient outcomes,” explained Karen Cheung on fiercehealth.com. “Like mandating seatbelts while driving, the new state law requires dutiful action for public safety and may influence other states to follow suit down the road.”

As many facilities see this as something they do but not formally, this law would require certain hygiene protocols such as hand washing and require exact procedures when it comes to treatment delivery. As stated in the bill itself, here are a few of the checklists that are to be enacted:

“(a) A checklist for appropriately identifying a patient and ensuring that the patient is being provided the treatment ordered by a provider of health care, including, without limitation, requiring providers of health care positively to identify the patient upon each interaction;
(b) A checklist for ensuring that each provider of health care adheres to the universal precautions protocol, including, without limitation, requiring a provider of health care to wash his or her hands before and after every interaction with a patient and after coming into direct contact with a surface or object which may be contaminated; and
(c) Any other checklists which may be appropriate for the type of treatment provided at the medical facility or which may be required by the State Board of Health.”

As you can see, many of these checklists are probably things that every nurse already does. But then again, fiercehealth.com editor Janice Simmons quotes Nevada Assembly Speaker John Oceguera (D-Las Vegas), who is a bill sponsor, that “48,000 Americans die each year in U.S. hospitals from preventable infections–and that using checklists should cut down on medical errors.”

Simmons also writes that, “I can’t argue there. In fact, a major study published in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine, found that hospital ICUs could eliminate central line-associated bloodstream infections for up to two years or more in Michigan using tools such as checklists to promote practices based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The opponents of this bill believe that checklists will cost more money because of the time and paperwork that this will require.

We’ll just have to wait and see how this pans out in Nevada. LVN to RN students are entering a career that is constantly changing!

To read the complete articles mentioned in this post, please visit:
http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/patient-safety-checklists-mandated-state-law/2011-05-26?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal
and
http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/will-mandating-checklists-ensure-patient-safety/2011-05-13
and
http://www.scribd.com/doc/50928544/AB-280-Bill-Text-Nevada-Legislature-via-MyGov365-com

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