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I have technical questions...

Nurses   (2,376 Views 16 Comments)
by Sadala Sadala (New Member) New Member

Sadala has 3 1/2 years experience and works as a RN - Med Surg.

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First, I should admit that I have both control issues and issues with systems. In other words, I like to do the best work in the most expedient manner. In particular, I don't like to find myself short of the items necessary to do my work (in any work context).

I'm a student. In my clinical rotation in LTC, we could bring in our own things. Oximeters, bp cuffs, etc. Frequently there was not enough equipment to go around and this made our impact on staff less annoying and allowed us to do vitals more quickly. I'm wondering, though, if the same is allowed in hospitals (and I can see reasons why admn may not/wouldn't like it).

Also, if you CAN bring in some of your own equipment, how do you carry it without contaminating, etc. For instance, I would love to be able to carry a small pulse ox and my bp cuff, and a thermometer with extra sterile sheaths, extra alcohol scabs (in packages) around with the "normal" equipment, steth, scissors, tape, penlight, etc. I doubt the capacity to put all of that in my pocket, however. Given that I'm not a kangaroo.

I already carry my own bottle of hand sanititzer.

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netglow works as a RN.

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Woah, wait a minute there spunky!

"Also, if you CAN bring in some of your own equipment, how do you carry it without contaminating, etc. For instance, I would love to be able to carry a small pulse ox and my bp cuff, and a thermometer with extra sterile sheaths, extra alcohol scabs (in packages) around with the "normal" equipment, steth, scissors, tape, penlight, etc. I doubt the capacity to put all of that in my pocket, however. Given that I'm not a kangaroo."

Bolded is all you may bring to the hospital. Use the hospital supplies. I am sure your instructor and the floor manager will "let you know" LOL, that you need to use hospital equipment because there is a standard of measure with their equipment. About cleaning per use. The floor will have wipes. Ask when you get there. BTW your question about contaminating is a little late if you are already using your stuff at the LTC without cleaning between uses.

Edited by netglow

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Case Management RN.

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Tread carefully when bringing your own electronic equiment that must be routinely calibrated (automatic BP cuffs, pulse oximetry machines, etc.). The healthcare facility is calibrating this type of equipment at routine intervals. If a poor patient outcome results and you cannot prove that you properly calibrated your personal supplies, you might get into trouble.

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oh my, yes yes yes, i've certainly experienced 'waiting' for various pieces of equipment, (more so in the past than nowadays) as well as time wasted chasing around who has it/put it where. (before all staff have cell phones, we literally had to walk and walk and walk and visually search out our coworkers).

The equipment i owned, and carried with me, like my stethoscope, were never taken into isolation rooms. Isolation rooms (whether it's cuz pt is infected, or pt has compromised immune system) usually have their own cuffs, thermometers, etc. in that room.

I never brought my own BP cuff to work, but, i saw nurses who did. Many units i worked in, had a BP cuff on the wall of every room, making lugging one of your own around all day unnecessary. The closer you get to acute care, the closer the items you need are usually kept....(often right in the room)

imo, often, the further out you get from acute care, the further you have to walk to get your hands on various types of equipment and the more staff you have to share that equipment amongst. But, when you are staff in less acute care settings, you become more organized, have systems in place, have set locations for items to be stored for others looking for it, and many of the staff do figure out how to have always have the items you need most often right around handy.

I have had coworkers who had clipboards which opened up and had a small drawer in there for small items. Others had 'fanny packs' of a sort, and besides filling in the 'purse' area of the belt,

some items would hang off of the sides of the fanny pack.

Some left their stuff on nearby med carts, or in bottom drawer of med carts. Still, you have to go back to get it now and then, but, not as far of a walk.

We all cleaned our own stuff with alcohol wipes, usually.

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btw, if you do bring your own BP cuff around, you might have to check if the facility, or your school, might require you ensure that your cuff is properly calibrated.?

also,

you'd still need to know where the extra small cuffs, and the extra large cuffs,

and the extra extra large cuffs

are all stored. The size of cuff you use, (as well as whereabouts on the arm it is placed) can alter the reads you are getting.

so if you are using only standard size cuff,

on extra small or extra big arm, your numbers might be off a bit.

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Sadala has 3 1/2 years experience and works as a RN - Med Surg.

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Ok. Good to know. Suspected as much due to thinking there would be concerns about efficacy of equipment and sanitation. Anything used was, of course, sanitized between patients. None of the students had an oximeter, so we used one belonging to the instructor. Center was aware.

How do you deal with a lack of supplies/basic working equipment - or is this something that occurs primarily in LTC and hospitals have better resources? Or is it something with which you just learn to deal.

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Sadala has 3 1/2 years experience and works as a RN - Med Surg.

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btw, if you do bring your own BP cuff around, you might have to check if the facility, or your school, might require you ensure that your cuff is properly calibrated.?

I suppose that was part of the question. Don't know that another facility would even allow that, dependent upon the type of facility. So if it seems that usually one is not allowed to do so, then that is good info to have.

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I suppose that was part of the question. Don't know that another facility would even allow that, dependent upon the type of facility. So if it seems that usually one is not allowed to do so, then that is good info to have.

Well, like i said, i never lugged a cuff around, but, one place i worked, did allow some nurses to use their own cuffs,

but

biomed dept had to do quickie test (took like, just a few minutes) to check if mmHg was accurate. This test was done once a year on all cuffs in the facility, as well as prn if someone thought the cuff was inaccurate.

Cuffs can be inaccurate, so, i'd imagine, some facilities *might* also require any 'outside' cuffs or electronic thermometers, or whatever,

are all checked for accuracy.

but, i don't know i'd say "most places" dont' allow that, probably, most places DO allow it...not sure, just a guess....

i guess you'd have to ask from one place to another, if they want to calibrate your cuff to check it's properly zero'd, and working accurately, if you work there.

slightly off topic, but,

Most hospitals i've worked at, required ANY electrical equipment, anything that plugged in,

had to be checked over by some dept, (can't think of name of that dept right now) even if it was something like a radio brought in by a patient,

and all such equip got lil sticker placed on it, that it was safe to use/not falling apart hazard.

Guess you'd have to ask, from one place to another,

if you can use your own equipment or not.

Edited by somenurse

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Ok. Good to know. Suspected as much due to thinking there would be concerns about efficacy of equipment and sanitation. Anything used was, of course, sanitized between patients. None of the students had an oximeter, so we used one belonging to the instructor. Center was aware.

How do you deal with a lack of supplies/basic working equipment - or is this something that occurs primarily in LTC and hospitals have better resources? Or is it something with which you just learn to deal.

Your experience in clinical,

so far as sharing a piece of equipment,

might not reflect what actually being an employee there

might be like.

If 20 extra students appear for a day,

and all 20 now need to use the cuff (usually, cuffs are on rolling stands, and are easy to spot standing out there in the hallway, if they are not on the wall of each room)

well,

that is not quite the same experience,

as the few nurses or CNAs working that hall would experience....see?

Sharing a cuff amongst 4 or 5 actual staff members,

who have a 'routine' going, who have known locations where the equip will be stored between usages,

is probably not the same experience that 20 students all sharing the cuff will have.

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rofl, i am just NOW noticing the first two posts, ha, i must have been posting at same exact moment they did.

To the OP, while re-reading your question,

in hospitals,

in most units,

the cuff will be on the wall.

the more acute care the setting, (like ICU, ER, etc)

the more equipment you have in each room, and the closer and more abundant the equip is. You'll see.

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roser13 has 17 years experience and works as a RN.

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Not really recommending this, but here's what I did. At my first job as an RN on a med/surg floor, the lack of clean, functioning equipment and supplies in a regional trauma center was astounding to me. As soon as I was off orientation, I wrote a 4-page "vent" letter to the managers, detailing just an hour or so of my shift. This included all of the up-and-down, back-and-forth wasteful ventures around the unit and even into other units to "borrow" equipment. It also included how many trips I had to make and to how many supply rooms to gather enough necessities to actually perform each dressing change or NG placement.

The letter ended up traveling up the ladder to goodness-knows-who, but the end result was multiple new units of durable equipment (rolling vitals carts, etc.) and a re-calibration of our laundry and supply standards. Seems that those who lived in the ivory tower really didn't know how bad it was on the floor.

Ok. Good to know. Suspected as much due to thinking there would be concerns about efficacy of equipment and sanitation. Anything used was, of course, sanitized between patients. None of the students had an oximeter, so we used one belonging to the instructor. Center was aware.

How do you deal with a lack of supplies/basic working equipment - or is this something that occurs primarily in LTC and hospitals have better resources? Or is it something with which you just learn to deal.

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and works as a Emergency / Trauma Nurse.

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Hospitals have far greater availability of equipment. Over the years I did prefer to carry certain things in my pocket. Hand sanitizer, trauma shears, my stethoscope.....I carry a pocket pulse ox (when I was a rapid response nurse and house supervisor I am all over the hospital....NOTHING drives me crazier to be called to a pateint in distress while they look for the pulse ox) B/P cuff....no. If I can feel a pulse...they have a pressure. A hemostat, some alcohol swabs, IV caps and tape.

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