Thousands of nurses from across the country attended the ONS Annual Congress last month in Boston and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with countless professionals who engaged in networking and learning about the latest in products, technology and industry trends.
Carmel hosted a conference symposium for an impressive number of attendees that highlighted the safe handling of hazardous drugs and the clinical-based evidence, which outline the need for using a closed-system drug transfer device like PhaSeal®. Shannon Hazen, RN, BSN, OSN, regional oncology education coordinator at Presbyterian Cancer Center and Kerry Mahar, RN, MSN, AOCN, clinical nurse specialist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute led this discussion by encouraging nurses to initiate and expand their safe handling practice at their respective facilities.
Shannon challenged her audience by saying, “Don’t be afraid to ask ‘Did you contaminate any of your co-workers today?’” The shock value of that question hit a home run because nurses care. They care about their patients, the team of people they work with and the quality of care they provide. Each year, nurses share inspirational stories at the PhaSeal booth that prove their dedication and commitment to successfully performing their job. It’s what Oncology Nursing Month (May) celebrates – and we celebrate you.
However, there are other stories that are upsetting, such as the nurse who’s in a hurry and administers chemo without gloves, or touches community space with used chemo gloves, or the nurse who doesn’t use the closed-system transfer device available because, well, ‘it won’t matter just this once or it’s not as easy as what I did before.’ Taking care of yourself and those around you should always be on your mind. Let me ask you this just in case you are taking shortcuts that leave you exposed, “If easy isn’t safe, then why are you still doing it?”
It’s time for smart, clinical-based nurses to adopt best practices in safe handling and take the time to don PPE, use a CSTD (if you have access to one), throw PPE away after each use, etc. Let’s remind ourselves that the mission of safe handling is to protect yourself and one another. It’s time to embrace safety.