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Ideas That Work
Make It Easy to Find the Right Drug
Melonie Marchak
Publish Date: October 10, 2007   |  Tags:   Ideas That Work

Melonie Marchak, RN, BSN I created a cross-reference sheet that lists generic and trade names of medications in our code cart. Some people are not familiar with both names and may not know, for example, that flumazenil is Romazicon, so it's a real time-saver. We attached the laminated sheet to the cart's IV pole so staff can quickly cross-reference the drugs' names, especially if they're in a code situation. Be sure someone updates the sheet as meds change.

Michelle Whittaker, RN, BSN
Preoperative Educator
East Texas Medical Center
Tyler, Texas
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Melonie Marchak, RN, BSN\ Get the word out on docs through business cards
How often have you found yourself out on errands after work, in your scrubs, and people ask for medical advice? This happens to me quite a bit, and I generally end up giving out one of my cards and writing the name and number of a utilizing physician at my outpatient center. So I've begun printing a list of utilizing physicians, their specialties and their numbers on the back of my business cards. Before I do this, I get the approval of each doctor (they're happy to promote themselves and our center). My administrator plans to do the same next time he orders business cards.

Paul Bernard, RN
OR/PACU/Safety Officer
Panama City Surgery Center
Panama City, Fla.
writeMail("[email protected]")

Why we use patient care assistants
We use patient care assistants (PCAs) as a support structure for our nurses. Here's why:

  • They can do more clinically. PCAs can do more clinical tasks than certified nursing assistants (CNAs): draw blood, do EKGs, measure blood glucose, transport patients, hook patients up to monitors and discontinue IVs. (Check with your state nursing board for the list of skills/tasks advanced nurse assistants are approved to perform.)
  • They cost less. PCAs earn on average $11 per hour, slightly more per hour than CNAs ($8.50), but significantly less than LPNs ($15 per hour) and RNs (more than $20 per hour).

We started an incentive program at our facility to encourage CNAs to obtain advanced certification, and several local schools' PCA programs do rotations here. Usually, we start our PCAs as per diem employees and move them into full- or part-time positions as they become open. Because of the schools' programs, many of the PCAs we hire come to us with cross-training experience, so it doesn't take much to cross-train them to our facility's needs.

Angelina Meza-Suarez, RN
Assistant Director
Ambulatory Surgery at Cedars Medical Center
Miami, Fla.
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Editor's note: Check your state's regulations for PCAs before trying this.