Emesis basins are handy for pre-op nurses to transport intravenous supplies to the patient's bedside. They also make great receptacles for used needles and trash. The trouble is, then you have to dispose of the basins because of possible blood contamination - and at 25 cents apiece, the wasted dollars pile up. Besides, the plastic basins are non-biodegradable, and we were disposing more than 500 a month ($125) into our landfills.
One day, while tearing off the top of the intravenous tubing package and removing it from its container, I had an epiphany of sorts. The IV tubing is coiled inside an opaque dish-shaped tray at the bottom of the IV set. What if we used that to transport supplies instead of emesis basins? It had just the right depth. It's lighter than a basin, but it works just fine if you hold your hand underneath it. We even considered using those paper french fry containers to transport IV supplies, but this idea works better.
Shirley Orth, RN
Mission Valley Heights Surgery Center
Del Mar, Calif.
Delegate Emergency Drills
Here's a neat way to run emergency and evacuation drills. Assign two or three staff members, not managers, to run the drills. Draw the names from a hat and give those chosen the necessary documentation. Give them carte blanche to dream up an emergency scenario, such as a bomb threat, a fire started by the toaster oven in the kitchen or an earthquake. Then let them schedule the surprise drills.
When they run the drill, they'll see where all of the problems are. Immediately after the drill, maybe when everyone's at the designated meeting place, they should critique the drill. Did someone turn off the gas valve? Who has the keys? Where's the roster of patients, staff on duty and visitors? Let the chosen members recommend in-services and other safety training, such as hands-on fire extinguisher training in the parking lot.
This is a great way for staff to take ownership of safety procedures and to take it more seriously. It also keeps the rest of the staff on their toes because next time, it might be their turn.
Julie Adelchanow, CST
Surgery Center of South Bay
Spreadsheets Tame Supply Requests
When staff submitted requests to reorder supplies, they had no way of knowing whether another person had already made that request. In fact, I had no way of knowing without going through a pile of scraps and Post-its.
To enlist the aid of more eyes and hands, I printed out spreadsheets for each storage area and posted them on the doors. I instructed staff to write in the items we needed to reorder when they took the last one or when they noticed we were running low. That way we'd have a running list that compiled all recent order requests in one place. If a requested supply is on backorder, we highlight the item on the list so that anyone looking for it doesn't have to ask why it wasn't in the storage room.
I pick up the spreadsheets from each storage area before I make an order and post fresh ones for the next wave of requests.
Physicians Surgical Center