Little is Definite, 100% of the Time

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    Or things are not definite, indefinitely. To make the most of nursing practice, it is important to know about your policies, your procedures, your scope. Communication is important. If you don't know, then you need to know where you can go to find answers. If you make yourself familiar with and put into practice the policies that are in place for your unit, it can only improve your practice.

    Policies and procedures vary widely. By state, by facility, by unit. What is "common" for one facility, is not always common in another. Acute vs. LTC is apples to oranges. So as part of orientation, or as part of precepting a new employee, it is important to talk about and become familiar with policies and procedures that affect nursing practice.

    There has been a few threads popping up regarding "questionable" practices. Generally speaking, as nurses, we know what a "general rule of thumb" is. We have comfort zones, levels of ethics that we adhere to, safe practices. We are prudent. Everyone's intent is safe patient care, with the best patient outcome as possible. Even nurses who are burnt out or overwhelmed, we go to work everyday with an intent to cause no harm. Sometimes, some of us are confused as to how to deliver care to patients in a way that may be different than what we are taught, generally know to be true, or how we have practiced in the past.

    One of the ways that we can look to how a facility and/or unit wants us to practice is by asking where one can access policies and procedures. It is important to know where this information is, and that you have access to it. Not saying for a moment it needs to be read like a novel, however, it should be referred to with any practice questions that a nurse may have.

    Another way one can find out information is to ask in a staff meeting forum. If people deviate from set policy (and you may find that policies are really outdated) then the question to ask is why. A thought would be to update policy. A reminder would be that if in fact the unit is audited, what policies are still in play, and which have been deviated from?

    Sometimes it takes fresh eyes and new insight. To protect yourself, you should always carry malpractice insurance. This is a good protection. Obviously, if there's a huge disconnect over patient care and how nurses are practicing in outright opposition to safe care, this is a complete other story. In that instance, know where to go or not go with that information--your employee handbook is a good reference, as is your union contract if you are a union facility.

    If you are uncomfortable with what someone is asking you to do, then ask why it is that it is done that way. Think about how you are comfortable completing the task at hand, and talk about if you are able to do it that way. There is not just one means to an end. If you are able to talk about alternate orders that support what it is everyone is trying to accomplish with far less time wasting steps, then by all means ask.

    We can not go in and change the world. We can not go in and make sweeping assumptions on how things can be done our way, the better way, this way stinks. However, fresh eyes are interesting. And gives pause to how things can be done more efficiently, in a patient's best interest, and a lot less nerve wracking.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 25, '13
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    About jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

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  3. by   elprup
    Hoping my next job has written policies and procedures.
    That will be one of my first questions!
  4. by   kbrn2002
    Quote from elprup
    Hoping my next job has written policies and procedures.
    That will be one of my first questions!
    It probably will, if it is like mine it is 650+ pages! A little overwhelming to say the least.
  5. by   aTOMicTom
  6. by   mymisseemoo
    Last night I was looking in the policies and procedure manuals (total of 6 very large 3 ring notebooks) and could not find "Job description" anywhere. I looked in the employee manual- nothing there either. I was amused at the pages in the manual- most of them were yellowed with age. Makes me wonder if they are up to the current standards.
  7. by   jadelpn
    Quote from aTOMicTom
    LOL--AND my mistake, I edited where it would let me--I was soooo hopped up to get this exciting article to ya'll that I wasn't careful in my editing to begin with....
    Or it is because I am from New England, and we drop letters and replace ALL the time.....
    ie: Wicccckkkedddd Awwweeesommmmeeee.
    Will be more mindful in the future!
  8. by   kbrn2002
    No worries here...I am SO observant [not!] I didn't even notice the misspelled word.
  9. by   Esme12

    This thread is about knowing your policies and procedures. Not a discussion about spelling. If any member sees something objectionable please report by using the yellow triangle report button in the lower left hand corner of every post.