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HAIs 'Not Just a Nursing Problem'

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, February 18, 2014

"Some of these things are really [linked to] nursing," says Patricia Stone, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, Centennial Professor of Health Policy at Columbia University School of Nursing, and the study's lead author. But just because HAIs are a nursing-sensitive outcome, doesn't mean that nurses alone bear the responsibility for them.

"It takes a team, it takes top leadership, it takes everyone on the same page," Stone says. "It's not just a nursing problem."

For instance, with CLABSI prevention, optimal catheter site selection is critical, but nurses aren't responsible for that. With VAP, "the bedside nurse doesn't order the ulcer-prevention drugs," Stone says.

This isn't an attempt to pass the buck. Rather, it is showing that an interdisciplinary approach is needed, and that nurses clearly aren't solely responsible for "nurse-sensitive outcomes."

That said, Stone says nurse leaders can and should take the lead on making sure that an interdisciplinary team is adhering to IP policies, and establishing such policies when there aren't any in place.

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