Sharpies to label transparent dressing

  1. Any contraindications to using a sharpie marker to label a transparent dressing on a central line? The supplied label that comes with our kits falls off and without a date we have to change the dressing again. Our ID nurse came around and said we can't use them but cannnot provide any evidence why. I'm looking for any evidence good or bad.
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    About Chisca

    Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 739; Likes: 1,158
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 28 year(s) of experience in critical care, dialysis


  3. by   carolinapooh
    That's all I've ever used from day one. Literally. (I've been an RN six years.) The labels are, as you've noted, pretty much useless. I've never been told not to do that (and I've worked in oncology my entire career, so we're sort of anal retentive about IC/ID), so I'm interested in what answers this thread gets.
  4. by   amoLucia
    It's probably the same rationale that's been bantered around for eons for NOT using markers/sharpies on IV bags. Something about the inks being absorbed through the plastic/vinyl bags. First you hear YES; then you hear NO.

    I don't know that I ever read anything about it either way. But I'll betcha' that's where it came from.
  5. by   applewhitern
    AmoLucia, yes, we have had that discussion, too. Our nurse manager would have a fit if we used a permanent, sharpie-type pen on an IV bag, claiming that it would absorb. We don't put dates on our IV dressings, including central lines, at all. Everything we do is done on the computer, and you can see the dates there. When a new dressing, site, or tubing is due, the MAR will tell us.
  6. by   morte
    the problem with that is, how do you know it was down? Just because someone "clicked" on the right box?
    adderhaps some clear tape over the label, to secure it to the dressing?
    Last edit by morte on Jun 12, '13 : Reason: add
  7. by   schade1
    I have only worked in laboratories and there were times we would not use sharpies, because alcohol makes it dissolve and smear off. The tape idea is good, but won't prevent it from smearing with alcohol (say from your hands or gloves). When we could not use a sharpie we used a red wax pen. I think tape and a red wax pen would be ideal.
  8. by   Chisca
    The company rep that supplies our central line dressings paid us a visit last week and stated there was no way that sharpie ink could penetrate the occlusive dressing. Infection control nurse has backed off for now so I will continue to use my sharpie.

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