Improved Administration of Antibiotics in the Emergency Department: A Practice Improvement Project

McLaughlin, J.M. et al. Journal of Emergency Nursing.July 2016. 42(4). pp. 312–316

hospital-834150_960_720Problem: Although consensus exists among experts that early intravenous antibiotic therapy has an impact on patient mortality, the medical literature includes little information about ensuring that the patient receives the complete dose. At our emergency department, it had become standard clinical practice to administer antibiotics with primary pump tubing and an infusion pump. Clinical pharmacy staff identified this practice as a cause for concern, because at least 20 mL (up to 40%) of the dose volume remains in the tubing. This practice improvement project was aimed at improving the administration of antibiotics by programming a secondary infusion to ensure the complete dose would be administered.

Methods: A multidisciplinary educational intervention was initiated consisting of one-on-one instruction with each emergency nurse (n = 103) at the department’s annual Skills Sessions, distribution of educational tip sheets, and reinforcement of the proper procedure at the patient’s bedside. Emergency nurses were educated via simulation regarding correct secondary pump programming, using smart pump technology.

Results: Surveys indicated that 8% of emergency nurses used secondary tubing along with a smart pump to administer antibiotics before the intervention, compared with 96% after the intervention (P < .0001).

Implications for Practice: This project demonstrates that our educational intervention improved awareness of the need to administer the entire antibiotic dose and adherence to the use of secondary tubing along with smart pump technology to administer antibiotics.

Read the abstract here

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