Leah Mittermeier, a Junior Level Nursing Student at Nebraska Methodist College, shares her perspectives on injection safety
Hearing Evelyn McKnight’s story really put into perspective what could go wrong if safe injection practices don’t take place. As a nurse I would feel so much shame in knowing my actions threatened people’s lives. I want to be as knowledgeable as possible with injections to ensure every patient I come in contact with is safe.
Being a patient safety advocate means speaking up anytime you see anything that could put a patient in danger. I know that it could be awkward confronting a colleague who was practicing unsafely, but at the end of the day, the patient’s safety and well being should come first. It is our responsibility as nurses to speak up for our patients. They might not realize that an unsafe practice is going on, so it is our responsibility to be on watch for anything threatening to the patient.
I’m very inspired to meet someone who had such a terrible experience and turn it into a learning opportunity for the world. I was impressed how calm Evelyn McKnight is after the experience and the fact that she doesn’t seem to hold grudges against the people involved.
Following is another installment in our “Methodist Mondays” thread. Nursing student Cortney Pasek describes her commitment to safe injection practices from her perspective as a future health care provider.
After reading Dr. Evelyn McKnight’s book, A Never Event, and hearing her speak, safe injection practices are of the utmost importance. Her heart-wrenching story will forever stay with me and be the motivation behind my safe injection practices.
A patient safety advocate requires one to be a communicator, educator, supporter, and caregiver. Advocacy is imperative to patient safety, as is empowering patients to be their own advocate. Her story has helped healthcare professionals and patients alike, worldwide, to find their voices. The videos on the One and Only Campaign website were also very beneficial.
While we are taught to check the labels for usage and expiration dates, the videos discuss the reasons behind the protocols, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I can only hope that if I am ever faced with similar trials and tribulations as Dr. Evelyn McKnight that I handle them with as much grace and forgiveness as she has. She is truly an inspiration.
Unsafe injection practices aren’t something I thought about until I read Dr. Evelyn McKnight’s book. I was under the impression that these sorts of things didn’t happen in the U. S. in this day and age. Now that I know how easily these things do happen, I will always pay extra attention when giving an injection to keep my patient safe.
Hearing her experience also made it clear that as a nurse, you need to speak up when you see something unsafe. It doesn’t matter who the person is. If I were doing something unsafe, even unintentionally, I would expect somebody to step in and to correct me.
I’m glad I was given the opportunity to hear Evelyn speak. It drove home the point as to why safe injection practices are so important.
Listening to Dr. McKnight was inspiring. Listening to her heart-breaking struggles and what she has overcome has motivated me to commit to safe injection practices. I want to make that if I were ever in a situation where I had witnessed an incident similar to Dr. McKnight’s that I would take action to prevent injury to the patient. Patients need to be comfortable and be able to trust their health care providers; delivering positive and safe patient care will empower and establish an excellent patient to provider relationship. I will strive to be aware of my surroundings and the cares being done by fellow nurses and physicians, making sure to advocate for the safety of the patient. Read more
Being a patient safety advocate means to care about the safety and health of the patient. When a patient reveals that an unsafe health practice happened, lots of drama ensues, just like in A Never Event. The patient safety advocate is the person that needs to be there for the patient to support them through anything they need. A patient needs to know that there is someone in their corner who believes them unconditionally and will be their voice if they don’t have one. Read more
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing emphasizes that an essential component of baccalaureate nursing education is to prepare the graduate to advocate for individuals, families, groups, communities, populations, the profession of nursing, and changes in the health care system (AACN, 2008). The challenge for nurse educators is how to define advocacy, not just as a word but a greater concept, and how to engage students in advocacy.
Patient lived experiences are a great way for students to understand how their actions in their own practice affect their patient at the time of care and in the future. The focus of nursing education is to prepare students to understand their patient’s problem and provide action steps to correct the problem. The use of personal stories helps the students to visualize and truly understand how their interventions and rationale can affect their patients in years to come.
Reading the book, A Never Event, has made a huge impact on our nursing students. Reading about an incident that happened so close to home allows the students to take accountability and ownership for these profound issues in our health system. The shocking events that occurred call the students to become advocates for quality and safety improvement for our patients. They identify with the stories and the characters and become empowered for change.
Evelyn McKnight’s presence in the classroom helps students to see a person who has a passion for the cause of patient safety. Evelyn is able to clearly articulate her mission for safe care for every person and she empowers students to see themselves as advocates for her cause as well. She puts the concept of patient safety right onto the shoulders of the students as future competent health care providers. I think students comprehend their responsibility for safe patient care in a whole new light after listening to Evelyn McKnight. After hearing her story and learning about all the ways she is impacting health care policy, students see that every person can make a difference in the world.
Evelyn’s contribution to a new book, The Truth About Big Medicine, compliments her personal story in A Never Event and expands on the issues of health policy in America. Evelyn gives a face and story to health policy, helping individuals better understand the importance of health policy awareness, advocacy, and activism. We look forward to including The Truth About Big Medicine in our nursing curriculum at Nebraska Methodist College.
Cathy Barnes, MSN, RN, Katie Doty, MSN, RN, Casey Frost, MSN, RN, Jodi Jenson-Bassett, MSN, RN, Carissa Nielsen, MSN, RN, and Echo Perlman MSN, RN are nursing faculty at the Nebraska Methodist College and the authors of this blog.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/BaccEssentials08.pdf
“Methodist Mondays” is the name of a once a month blog written by students of Nebraska Methodist College of Omaha. Students will share their reflections on patient safety, and their role as an advocate for their patients. It is part of a larger (and very exciting) partnership with the local college! Here’s a link to a recent story about the partnership.
As part of our “Methodist Mondays” series, Morgan Gasper shares her reflections after reading “A Never Event” as a class assignment. Morgan was instrumental in bringing a co-author of the book, Evelyn McKnight, to campus to share her story with students. Following are Morgan’s reflections on that visit.
Dr. McKnight’s story was truly inspiring and reminding of the fact that our job as healthcare providers is to care for patients. It is our job to provide the most culturally competent care with pure intentions for the best outcome for our patients. Our jobs are not about ourselves, but about every life we come in to contact with. Read more
At Nebraska Methodist College, the book A Never Event (McKnight & Bennington, 2010) is required reading at the junior level of the BSN nursing program. This past semester, Evelyn McKnight and Steve Langan visited the nursing classroom with a question and answer session regarding A Never Event and HONOReform. “Survivor Stories” will feature students’ reflections on the importance of Evelyn sharing her story and the work of HONOReform on their future nursing practice in a series called ‘Methodist Mondays’.
“Education and awareness are the cornerstone of the HONOReform mission. Lauren and I are grateful to Matthew Sobczyk, a nursing student, for providing this debut Methodist Monday blog,” Evelyn says.
During Dr. McKnight’s visit, I was very impressed with the amount of passion that she had for preventing reuse of needles, and enabling safe injection practices to prevent any further outbreaks from occurring. As a student nurse, I feel that enacting safe infection practices is one of the most crucial to prevent transmission of blood borne pathogens from patient to patient. Since needles are used every day for a multitude of reasons, it is important that no needle is used more than once to prevent any possible pathogens from passing between patients. It is one of the simplest acts that we as healthcare providers can use for safe practice. Hearing Dr. McKnight tell her story made me more passionate than ever to commit to this practice.
To be a patient advocate means to not only stand up for the patient and what their wishes are about the care that they will be receiving, it also means intervening when you see unwanted harm coming to your patient or any other patient from a fellow provider. I feel that being a patient safety advocate is one of the most important qualities of a health care professional, and if you can’t stand up for your patient and be there for them then you don’t deserve to be in the profession. You have to be there for your patient in order to provide the best possible care.
Without a doubt, I can’t thank Dr. McKnight enough for coming to speak to our class and sharing her story and her experience. When I had read her book, I was beyond shocked that such a horrific experience had taken place here in Nebraska, let alone in a town not far from Omaha. I also want to thank Steve Langan for coming along and talking about the activities that HONOReform has been a part of. It truly means a lot to have taken the time to come share their personal account with us. I won’t ever forget this experience.