buying a pulse ox of my own? - page 5

I am completing my school preceptorship on the same floor where I currently work as an aide and will be working as a nurse. We are a telemetry step-down unit. The floor has the same problem as... Read More

  1. by   RRTM2
    wow, did this turn into something! it's only a crummy little pulse ox. j

    ultimately i do think that it's the hospital's responsibility to supply the equipment we need to care for the pts. but here in the real world... i got tired of borrowing a unit or rushing to get to work early so i could get one before they were all gone. another rt and i used to just trade as we gave each other report. it's a pita so, yes, i now have my own fingertip pulse ox. it's a nonin onyx ll model 9550 and i treasure it. onyx ll model 9500 works just as well. i looked at ebay but ended up getting it from a medical supply company for the same price.

    i've adapted a thin pet leash to attach it to my waistband. it's been cut to the length i need to reach a pt, but short enough to not touch the floor when it's out of my pocket. i have it this way because i never put it back in my pocket until i've cleaned it. there are very nice pet leashes out there now... flowers, patterns, etc., and they are washable too.
    i change the batteries every other shift, but i use it 50 times a shift.
    biomed has approved it; checked once a year. our er has used a fingertip model for years.

    it's fast, it's easy to use, only one part touches the pt, it's light... it was an all-around good investment for me.


    as far as calibration, liability, cleanliness & competency issues...
    my fingertip model, our rt department's hand held units with a sensor on the end of a wire, and the table top models, are not calibrated. calibration means set value ranges that are measured and verified. biomed makes sure there are no power issues, the alarms work and that it actually reads something that looks right, and that's it.

    as to the liability of trusting a machine - it's general practice to verify anything that seems at odds with our observation of the pt, plus no pulse ox unit is ever to be trusted with a sat reading below 80. what could happen? an erroneously acceptable sat reading on a pt with no other indications of distress, and the pt crashes? it's not likely that a sat would be the only indication. an unacceptable reading would be verified.

    if a nosocomial infection can be traced to a dirty pulse ox, as opposed to a dirty stethoscope, or bp cuff, or no alcohol swab use, or pillow fell on the floor, or, or... dirty shoes! j individual ethics and practices don't change with the equipment.

    as far as i know, no one is checked out and signed off on the hand held units or on continuous/table top model pulse ox units. pulse oxs are pretty simple. it's not an iv pump, a swan-ganz monitor, or a balloon pump... items that could actually malfunction to the detriment of a pt. a hand held pulse ox is a battery powered light sensor with an led display. it isn't high tech. it works or it doesn't, no troubleshooting required. a laser pointer is more dangerous. i think the pts are competent with it after the first time.

    yes, we ask repeatedly for the hospital to supply units for us. our department is 45 rts. we need 10 units per shift. we have 6. meanwhile, as it goes through the budget committees and funding to get a few more at a time, my 50 checks a shift x the 3-6 months it takes to go through to purchase the units, remain a p i t a for me. that's why i have my own.
    there are always trade offs with budget negotiations. i will accept only 3 new pulse oxs a year instead of 10 (which really only replaces the broken/missing ones) to have an adequate supply of the best microprocessor ventilators available (at >$10k ea). a sat reading is a useful indication of condition but it never saved a life, but nitric oxide and bilevel ventilation sure has. i think our manager is fighting the good fight for both the rts and the pts. so, yes, in a perfect world we'd have everything we need, but in a perfect world we wouldn't need hospitals and somebody would be bringing me margaritas on the beach.

  2. by   Cattitude
    thank you nrskaren for that information, very interesting. i knew i didn't want nurses's t purchase equipment and now that puts the stamp on it as far as i'm concerned.
  3. by   Cattitude
    Quote from rrtm2
    wow, did this turn into something! it's only a crummy little pulse ox. j

    ultimately i do think that it's the hospital's responsibility to supply the equipment we need to care for the pts. but here in the real world... i got tired of borrowing a unit or rushing to get to work early so i could get one before they were all gone. another rt and i used to just trade as we gave each other report. it's a pita so, yes, i now have my own fingertip pulse ox. it's a nonin onyx ll model 9550 and i treasure it. onyx ll model 9500 works just as well. i looked at ebay but ended up getting it from a medical supply company for the same price.
    i do appreciate the many points you made in your post and understand, i think your situation is a bit different.
    some of us, i think were more opposed to the rn's buying equipment for more reasons than one. it's just indicative of so many other issues in nursing as a whole. a lot of it is principle, and apparently legalities, p &p's.
    rt's have their own woe's, i'm sure.
  4. by   roshell1963
    My niece is a CCU RN in FL she bought her own when she started nursing school. Not only could she never find one but the calibration can be way off because they are frequently mishandled by the staff. Promedsupplies.com has a battery one for $695.00 a lot of money but think of all the time you waste waiting to have your turn with the floor's machine. I have little patience for time wasting when I have to be accountable to a Head Nurse for vitals. I start nursing school next spring and I am going to by my own after her advice.
  5. by   meownsmile
    Ive contemplated buying one too. Found them a bit pricey, but havent done it yet,, i figured id probly lose it if i did so havent yet.
  6. by   bargainhound
    I have a friend who found one on Ebay for $125. It is a good one.
  7. by   Dorito
    Quote from Jolie
    I think there could be potential liability issues if your machine is not calibrated and maintained by your hospital biomedical department, if you don't have documentation of having been trained in its use, or if it could be shown to have contributed to nosocomial infections in patients.

    On the surface, it sounds like a nice convenience, but in the medical-legal environment of healthcare today, I would not do it.

    I agree. It could be a major liability. I'd invest in a stethescope instead. Years ago when I started in nursing we didn't even have pulse ox's. Is this a standard assessment along with vs now?
  8. by   caliotter3
    I checked back when I saw this thread again as I usually do when I am on this site instead of doing something more strenuous (like eating), and I noticed that at the top of the page were 3 ads for pulse oxims! I know that it takes money to maintain the site and I am not in favor of the increased number of ads, they annoy me, but I was kind of surprised. Don't really have a strong rxn pro or con; just surprised to see these ads.
  9. by   lajean
    Purchasing your own Pulse Oximeter for patient care in the hospital...I would recommend checking with your supervisor, AND biomed first. Some hospitals have specific requirements for equipment used. One of those requirement being that you use hospital equipment on hospital patients. Liability issues, etc...
  10. by   ellesbelles
    I'm a student, and one annoying thing I've noticed is that there's like one pulse ox that no one can find and like two bp machines and thermometers for the whole floor. I don't like having to spend twenty min looking for those items when I can use that time actually assessing pts. Once I graduate, I'm def buying my own pulse ox, therm, and manual bp cuff so I can get my job done, and not be fishing around for stuff. Yeah hospitals and nursing homes have enough $$ to purchase ENOUGH of these items for their staff, but whatever. I have a job to do. The items are not that expensive and I don't mind purchasing some of my own stuff if it means making my job a heck of a lot easier.
  11. by   MunoRN
    Pulse oximeters are not calibrated except for in the factory, it's not even possible to calibrate them after manufacture.

    I'm not following the line of logic that you are liable if you use any of your diagnostic equipment, am I the only one that uses my own stethoscope?
  12. by   Havin' A Party!
    Quote from ellesbelles
    ... I have a job to do. The items are not that expensive and I don't mind purchasing some of my own stuff if it means making my job a heck of a lot easier.
    Guarantee you'll do well after graduation. Great attitude!

    I've got all the items you've mentioned and more. Useful at work, for yourself, family, and at any other side gigs you choose.

    Suggest the thermometer used at the facility where you'll be working so the probe covers are not out-of-pocket for you.

    Also that the oximeter employ "normal" batteries... some require exotic / expensive cells.

    Good luck!
  13. by   ellesbelles
    Thanks "Havin a party." I'm optimistic about graduation

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