“Study finds nurses are overlooked in stewardship programs”
“Research presented at the 45th annual conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) suggests that nurses should play a bigger role in antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs).
The research, conducted at Jefferson Health (a regional health system in New Jersey and Pennsylvania), aimed to examine how the role of nursing in the system’s ASP could be strengthened. Nursing buy-in was achieved by opening up participation in the ASP at three of Jefferson Health’s New Jersey hospitals to nursing leadership, educators, performance improvement, and infection control. In addition, a computer-based learning module, with materials written in “nurse speak,” was shared across the three hospitals.
To gauge comprehension of stewardship principles, nurses at the hospitals were given a 10-question baseline-assessment quiz on antibiotic use. The results showed that more intensive care unit (ICU) nurses recognized how to interpret antibiotic susceptibility results than non-ICU nurses (92.3% vs. 87.6%), and more ICU nurses knew how to interpret non-susceptibility results as well (82.7% vs. 78.6%). Overall, most nurses (93.8%) incorporated microbiology results during sign-out reporting. But only 50% of clinical nurses checked susceptibility results of cultures prior to administering antibiotics. If cultures showed resistance, only 65.1% of clinical nurses notified the physician.
“Our findings show that nurses have been overlooked and under-utilized in ASPs,” Jefferson Health – New Jersey Infection Control Officer Cindy Hou, DO, the study’s lead author, said in an APIC press release. “Changing the culture and empowering nurses to speak up about antimicrobial stewardship leads to closer team coordination and cross-discipline collaboration, which ultimately saves lives.”