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Nurses Launch 'One Patient, One Stick' Petition

By Jennifer Thew RN  
   June 10, 2019

More vascular access specialists can help decrease patient pain and suffering from needlesticks.

For patients, needles are an often-dreaded part of the healthcare experience. But vascular access specialists can improve pain and suffering caused by needlesticks, say organizers of a movement to increase patients' access to these professionals.

A coalition of nurses and the Association for Vascular Access have launched a drive to gather 100,000 signatures to support a safety initiative by placing vascular access specialists in every hospital across the United States.

The petition will be presented to Washington lawmakers at the 2019 American Nurses Association Hill Day on June 20 as part of a focus on nurse-to-patient ratios.

 "Vascular access specialists make a crucial contribution to maintaining those staffing ratios by allowing highly skilled bedside nurses to focus on patient care instead of being called away to assist with intravenous access," Connie Girgenti, RN, co-organizer of the petition drive, says in a news release. "Americans for Vascular Access Specialists in Every Hospital is a public call to action to improve health outcomes for millions of patients".

Vascular access specialists like Girgenti use specialized knowledge and skills to assess, place, maintain, and troubleshoot intravenous catheters to avoid complications.

Of hospitalized patients, 98% need a vascular access device. Most of these devices are peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVC). According to research, uncomplicated PIVC placement attempt costs between $28 to $35.

Girgenti says patients commonly experience multiple needlestick attempts during a hospital stay. In addition to pain and suffering, failed attempts can lead to complications like bloodstream infections, which affect clinical outcomes and increase costs.

"Every patient should only have to endure one stick when they arrive at the hospital and a specially trained inserter can do that more than 95% of the time," she says.

The use of vascular access specialists is supported by the Centers for Disease Control, the ECRI Institute, and the Infusion Nurses Society.

"We want to drive legislative change that will improve the hospital care received by millions of Americans every day, one stick for all patients from first time mothers to preterm infants to terminal cancer patients," says Sheri Pieroni, RN, co-organizer of the petition drive.

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.

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