Like most nurses working in busy hospitals, I’ve seen some pretty horrific pressure injuries in my time. Not every day, thankfully, but we all know that lying on an operating table for several hours can be a recipe for disaster. But are occasional pressure injuries inevitable? The nurses at our hospital fervently believed the answer was no — that we could and should do better. After all, patients who come in for surgery don’t expect to go home with necrotic injuries on their faces — or anywhere else, for that matter.
As nurses, we decided to tackle this issue from the bottom up, instead of waiting for guidance to come from the top. After all, we were the ones in the trenches dealing with the patients. We felt we should be the ones looking more closely at the situation and finding ways to implement better practices. Of course, we knew we’d eventually have to get buy-in from physicians and from administration, but our nursing shared governance council got the initiative off the ground, and now, almost 2 years later, we’ve seen dramatic results. In the first 4 months of 2017, before we implemented our new procedures, we had 9 documented or related pressure injuries. In the first 4 months after implementation, we had 2. We’re still collecting data, but in the first 6 months of 2018, we had just 1.