Surveys Show PPE Is Still in Short Supply
A perhaps unexpected phenomenon the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic created around the world was countless supply shortages. Most at worst were inconvenient (e.g., yeast shortages from pandemic breadmaking) or humorous (e.g., toilet paper memes), but one that oncology nurses experienced far too close to home was downright deadly: lack of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies for handling hazardous drugs.
Senate Bill Addresses PPE Shortage
As the country sees dramatic spikes in COVID-19 coronavirus cases in fall 2020, political leaders are seeking to find solutions to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers on the front lines. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Protect Our Heroes Act of 2020 to increase the production of PPE and spur oversight into the supply and distribution of these necessary medical supplies.
Nurses Account for Largest Group of Healthcare Providers With COVID-19 Infections
Nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic are at greater risk of infection than other clinicians, according to the COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Nurse-related occupations, including nurses and certified nursing assistants, represent the largest proportion (36%) of healthcare providers hospitalized with COVID-19. The national survey brought to light what many nurses may have already known: nursing as a profession bears the brunt of the pandemic.
USP <800> Answers Some Difficult Questions About Hazardous Drug Safety
Exposure to hazardous drugs puts healthcare workers at risk for myriad adverse effects. Until recently, consistent safety information for HD administration and disposal has been lacking. However, with USP Chapter <800> going into effect in December 2019, U.S. Pharmacopeia has changed the landscape of HD safety guidelines.
Pandemic Advocacy; PPE Shortage List; Nurse Uncovers Data Error
Nurses are experts in advocating for their patients’ care. Taking those skills to Washington, DC, and speaking out for changes in federal health policy can have just as much impact. Even in an era of social distancing and travel restrictions, oncology nurses can bring their message to the local, state, and federal leaders to bring about change.
Provider Groups Announce Campaign Urging Public to #WearAMask
Wearing a mask is critical to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but the public hasn’t always been compliant. In an effort to provide education and understanding, the American Nurses Association, American Medical Association, and American Hospital Association joined forces to promote a new public health awareness campaign.
Healthcare Worker Shortage; Trump Clashes With Big Pharma; Surprise Billing
Houston, TX, Miami, FL, and Baton Rouge, LA, are three of the many cities battling repercussions from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Most daunting is the perpetuated shortage of healthcare workers as the pandemic continues to ravage the United States.
Insufficient PPE; COVID-19 and Cancer Mortality Rates; Nurses of Color
Nurses have been advocating for increased personal protective equipment (PPE) long before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Last year two clinicians published a book that reported on their five years of research into trauma in nurses. Their findings showed that lack of PPE, along with a multitude of other factors, led to a variety of traumas in nurses, all of which has been ignored for decades.
Legislators Urge President to Respond to PPE Shortage
Healthcare providers still lack sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely treat patients with COVID-19 coronavirus. Citing insufficient federal coordination, members of Congress urged the Trump administration follow through on implementing the $16 million PPE funding provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Public Policies Protect Healthcare Worker Safety During COVID-19
One of the highest health policy priorities for the nursing community during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is to ensure the safety of healthcare workers, particularly regarding the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Healthcare Leaders Release Open Letter on Coronavirus; Nurses Share Realities of COVID; Hospitals Use Telemedicine Amid Pandemic
A day after President Donald Trump was considering lifting some of the quarantine mandates, healthcare leaders from the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association (ANA) released an open letter urging Americans to stay home.
Healthcare Industry Looks to Public Amid COVID-19 PPE Supply Shortage
Nurses and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic are facing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, face shields, and N95 face masks. But grassroots efforts from citizens and companies are bringing PPE donations or funneling supplies from donors to medical facilities in response to pleas from the healthcare community.
Proper PPE Procedures for COVID-19
Although many oncology nurses are well versed in donning and doffing (removal) of personal protective equipment (PPE) for administering hazardous drugs, but not infection control. Additionally, nursing colleagues in other specialties may not wear PPE as part of their daily practice. As the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic changes that, oncology nurses should understand PPE use for infection control to promote safety for nurses and patients.
Should You Wear a Gown to Disconnect Chemo?
The short answer is yes—guidelines from ONS, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and U.S. Pharmacopia all call for nurses to always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when at risk for exposure, including disconnecting a patient’s chemotherapy. Wearing a gown and other PPE isn’t just good practice—it protects nurses at one of many touchpoints during chemotherapy administration and patient care where healthcare providers are at risk for exposure to hazardous drugs.
Handle With Care: How USP <800> Will Affect Nursing Practice
Police officers wear body armor and construction workers wear hard hats. Why? Because these professions carry inherent dangers in the line of duty—and oncology nursing does too. Statistically, healthcare workers face more workplace-related dangers than both law enforcement and construction, yet attention to safety and personal protection isn’t always a central focus. This can be especially true in cancer care, where nurses are required to administer hazardous drugs (HDs) and handle dangerous medications on a daily basis. Although safety recommendations exist, few enforceable standards are protecting nurses handling HDs.
What Oncology Nurses Need to Know About USP <800>
Because of the risks and dangers associated with hazardous drugs, guidelines surrounding their use and handling have been issued since 1981. Since then, several organizations, including ONS (in tandem with the American Society of Clinical Oncology), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, have released guidelines for various providers who handle the drugs.
What Are ONS’s Recommendations for Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs?
Research suggests that healthcare workers who handle hazardous drugs may experience acute effects such as skin rashes or more chronic effects including adverse reproductive events and malignancy. This has led numerous government agencies to make recommendations regarding the safe handling of hazardous drugs.
What Oncology Nurses Need to Know About Immunotherapy Agents
As immunotherapeutic options for cancer treatments continue to grow, oncology nurses need a deeper understanding of the therapies, how they work, and how to manage their side effects, so they can continue to provide the best patient care.
What You Wear Matters When It Comes to Safety
“Hey, you didn’t dress up for me today. Where’s your pretty blue dress?”
At first I wasn’t sure what the patient in the chemotherapy chair was talking about. After a moment, I realized the patient was referring to the blue safety gowns we wear. I heard the infusion nurse respond as she removed the chemotherapy from the hazard bag, “Oh yeah, I’m kind of in a hurry today.”
While the patient could possibly benefit from the chemotherapy, for the nurse that same drug posed a serious hazard.