For this post we welcome guest blogger, Ruperto A. Glaize, A CIV US USA MEDCOM, equipment maintenance, Womack Army Medical Center, who shares his best practices concerning use errors, based on his observations from working in small rural hospitals the past few years. Here’s what he says:
“As more and more of the equipment is computer based, your work force is less and less capable of using it. They want to turn it on, push one or two buttons, and that’s it. If someone accidentally changes one setting, most nurses are incapable of resetting the unit back to their perceived “natural” setting.
In the higher skilled areas (ICU, NICU, etc) the common use errors occur during crisis moments when the nurses are totally focused on patient care and are unable to step back for a second, process what the unit is doing or not doing. They would rather shut the unit down, disconnect the patient, bring in another unit, then reconnect the patient.”
Rupert has found that on the wards/floors, most nurses are CNAs who, unfortunately, are not very adept in using most equipment. He has noted that “if the equipment alarms for any reason, they will just put it to the side with a ‘broken’ sign on it.”
His solution? “I understand that with budget concerns education is usually one of those areas that will be easy for the hospital to cut. As biomeds we are the technical experts for the hospital and we must work very close with the education department to make sure that the hospital work force is a competent work force. Having the latest, greatest, state of the art equipment does us no good if the work force does not know or understand how to properly use the equipment.”
Our thanks to Rupert and we hope you’ll comment on his blog and share your own best practices.