Hydration Stations in the Nursing Station

  1. I know this is an old subject that keeps getting kicked around. But I thought I would throw it out there again......

    Over the years some Hospitals have developed "hydration stations", "clean areas', etc. and have been able to pass there surveys.

    The Administrators at my facility challenged my dept to come up with a presentation. If we where able to come up with enough data, they would allow us a hydration station as well.

    We are finding it more challenging then we thought. We found 3 fairly decent articles but they are not giving us the data punch we want. So, we decided to reach out & ask if anyone can suggest any articles that might help us obtain more data.
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  2. 33 Comments

  3. by   canoehead
    I can't provide articles supporting hydration for nurses, but I can come up with a ton of them for patients. I've heard our bodies are similar.

    I mention needing water at the occupational health screening for new jobs- when they check your vaccination status. I'll get a doctors note if necessary. If they cant accommodate me I quit. (Maybe not immediately, but its a deal breaker once I get another job lined up)
  4. by   LovingLife123
    I never get why hospitals say you can't have drinks at the nurses station due to JHACO. That's simply not true. You can. They need to have lids and naked with dates. It's pretty simple. We were surveyed not that long ago.
  5. by   1Crazynurse
    It's not even a JACHO regulations. JACHO defers to OSHO

    here are the actual osha regulations
    1910.1030(d)(2)(ix)
    eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses are prohibited in work areas where there is a reasonable likelihood of occupational exposure.

    I agree. We were told it was allow for us because of the distance of our break room just as it had a lid. But our Admin said no. This is where to challenge came from.
  6. by   MunoRN
    Here is OSHA's statement on beverages at a nursing station:
    The employer must evaluate the workplace to determine in which locations food or beverages may potentially become contaminated and must prohibit employees from eating or drinking in those areas. An employer may determine that a particular nurse's station or other location is separated from work areas subject to contamination and therefore is so situated that it is not reasonable under the circumstances to anticipate that occupational exposure through the contamination of food and beverages or their containers is likely. The employer may allow employees to consume food and beverages in that area, although no OSHA standard specifically requires that an employer permit this.
    Every place that I've worked has allowed covered drinks in nursing stations or designated portions of nursing stations and hasn't been cited by a surveyor for this, so clearly it's not impossible. It is required though that the employer go to the effort of designating these areas based on a low probability of contamination. If there's no policy defining safe beverage areas then surveyors may consider everything to be no-beverage areas.
  7. by   canoehead
    You know, our patients consume food and beverages in the hospital high risk contamination areas, I would think the nursing station is a pretty low risk area. I also think that any OSHA or JCAHO regulation applies to all employees, not just nurses. I may be somewhat cranky about this issue. No food...fine. No drinks in general...fine. But plain water in covered cups, labeled...on 12 hour shifts, its necessary!
  8. by   LovingLife123
    Quote from 1Crazynurse
    It's not even a JACHO regulations. JACHO defers to OSHO

    here are the actual osha regulations
    1910.1030(d)(2)(ix)
    eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses are prohibited in work areas where there is a reasonable likelihood of occupational exposure.

    I agree. We were told it was allow for us because of the distance of our break room just as it had a lid. But our Admin said no. This is where to challenge came from.
    There's pretty much a risk of occupational exposure in every aspect of a hospital. As long as it has a lid and is dated there is not an issue. Like I said, we got surveyed not that long ago and it was not an issue. There is no difference in exposure between the nurses station and breakroom. It's still an exposure risk in both places as many people have some type of bodily fluid on them. The actual risk is in patient rooms and they can eat and drink all day long.

    So, that whole OSHA thing makes no sense. Droplets from meds or a blood draw could occur while a patient has a drink or food in their room.

    To me, your admin is making an issue out if nothing.
  9. by   Julius Seizure
    My hospital designates hydration stations. Some units set aside a empty cupboard behind the nursing station where drinks may be kept, and I guess the "away from patient care areas" makes sense in those situations.

    But other units basically have just put a big plastic box (shallow, about 3-4" tall) on the counter next to the ice machine that is located at the nurses station. Drinks are supposed to stay within the plastic box (but its not big enough, so sometimes you have to put your drink next to it). The drink area is located on the counter above the formula and breast milk refrigerators and directly next to the bottle warmer. Not really sure how this was determined to be the "safest" area according to OSHA regulations, but there you have it. Somehow that is supposed to be safer than having the drink next to me as I am charting.
  10. by   JKL33
    Quote from LovingLife123
    So, that whole OSHA thing makes no sense. Droplets from meds or a blood draw could occur while a patient has a drink or food in their room.

    To me, your admin is making an issue out if nothing.
    I feel a rant coming on, lol.

    Here's the deal. Nurses eating or drinking isn't the "customer service" appearance admin wants to portray. Therefore they cobble together various reasons to try to say we can't have anything, even water/drinks.

    They love the OSHA thing with gusto because OSHA applies to employees, and specifically doesn't apply to patients (who are clearly not employees). Who cares if it makes no sense when employers say that the nurse's station is a risk for exposure, totally ignoring patient food in rooms where care is actively taking place.

    Right off the top of my head (from experience):

    - Seek a place where lab tubes/urine samples/etc. can be deposited specifically. This is a "dirty" area

    - Find another area far away from that, which can be labeled/marked off for the "hydration station".

    - This **WILL** pass a survey.

    Tell us more about the specifics of the excuses you are being given, and what you have heard from admin so far. I am willing to spend some time searching and helping put together something. This issue is absolutely ridiculous and the worst part about it is the unabashed, bald-faced lying about it.
  11. by   JKL33
    This letter is old, but in looking into this several times over recent years, it's one of the only things I've been able to find. It's still useful, though, because it is rather clear in stating that if areas can be properly delineated/marked/separated, you'll meet the regulatory requirement. If admin insists that there is a theoretical risk of contamination in ALL areas of the nurse's station even though that is not where patient care is taking place, then what they are saying is that this area is contaminated by mere fact that nurses go into and out of it. If THAT's what they are going to say, then it applies to ALL AREAS OF THE HOSPITAL that nurses go into and out of.

    In the past I have insisted that "You can't have it both ways. So which is it."

    If nurses are hand-sanitizing/washing in and out of everywhere we go, according to policy (as we should be!), and if items like lab samples are kept in a designated area, and if drinks are kept in a designated area, then there is literally no logical basis to say that X (distant) area of the nurse's station is any more "contaminated" than ANYWHERE ELSE that nurses go in the hospital.

    Beat them with logic. (It's not difficult).
  12. by   Purple_roses
    Honestly, my manager tells us to keep food away from stations and to cover and date our water while JC is here, and only when JC is here. Thankfully, she's been a nurse for decades and understands that water and glucose are essential parts of living. (She still does want us to cover and date drinks for obvious reasons.)
  13. by   Here.I.Stand
    Does your unit have a galley or ice machine for pt use? Does admin believe it to be clean enough for food/drinks/ice that is to be served to pts? Are nurses, after proper hand hygiene, sanitary enough to procure these items and serve them to pts?

    If so, there is no issue with nurses drinking water there. Microbes don't fly away when a nurse fills a pt's water pitcher, and then go all Blitzkrieg on the place when a nurse fills a cup for him/herself to drink.

    You don't need EBP articles -- logic should suffice here.
  14. by   JKL33
    Quote from Here.I.Stand
    If so, there is no issue with nurses drinking water there. Microbes don't fly away when a nurse fills a pt's water pitcher, and then go all Blitzkrieg on the place when a nurse fills a cup for him/herself to drink.
    Hahaha! Amen.

    One word of caution in regards to this, though: That galley area, if patients can access it independently, is not okay with me and it was shot down unanimously by co-workers, too. Don't settle for leaving your drinks where they can be tampered with.

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