Your hospital staff is working its third code in as many days, and, once again, the portable monitor you rely on for pacing and defibrillation has become disconnected. You’ve asked your manager repeatedly for a replacement, and as you fumble with the cord, you decide something must be done.
Patient care is your fundamental priority, and you know that when the equipment you rely on becomes worn and outdated, it’s time to act. So, what is your next step?
How you approach this problem depends upon where you reside within the hospital hierarchy. The higher you are, the fewer impediments you have. But even front-line caregivers can promote change within their departments. You simply must follow rules and regulations, as well as policy.
Make Your Case
As with any aspect of healthcare, thorough documentation is your best defense. Documentation can also play an integral role in your push for new equipment. It’s one thing to stand before your administrators complaining about old equipment. It’s another when you have statistics to back you up.
How many times in the past month has this piece of equipment failed? Are other departments within the hospital experiencing similar problems? Meet with other caregivers and compare notes. Yours might not be the only department using broken or outdated devices. A hard set of numbers is more compelling than simply complaining, so gather the data before you convene the meeting.
Browse the current literature for statistics surrounding your issue. If the cardiac monitor is malfunctioning, gather stats on the effects of delayed defibrillation and the negative consequences for resuscitation. Even administrators, who must manage the budget, will agree that no cost is too great when it comes to the lives and health of their patients.
Engage other health professionals, such as physicians, risk management personnel, and specialists. They can provide valuable input and can help you make your case. Ultimately, the decision will fall to the administration, but if you gather your resources and make a meaningful argument, your voice is more likely to be heard.