The cost of health care in Trinidad and Tobago in steadily increasing according to the Budget Highlights 2011/2012, $4.7 billion dollars is to be projected for Health Care. As a Registered Nurse working in the health care institutions of Trinidad and Tobago, as discussed in Ellis and Hartley 2010, you are expected to understand the issues surrounding cost and become an active participant in managing health care resources.
This health care resource comprises buildings, equipment, supplies, personnel and time as expressed by Ellis and Hartley, (2010). All members of the health care team must become active champions of cost containment and conscious consumers of resources in order to maximize their usage. (Ellis, 2010) As a staff nurse it is impossible to control all the elements that impact health care costs but it is important to understand the basic tenants of costs and ways in which you as a health care provider are able to save and not waste valuable resources, but still provide high standards of quality nursing care.
In order for the nurse to be an advocate for costs containment he/she should know how much things cost, how much is paid for supplies and equipment. How these equipment are procured for use in the department and also the proper use, handling and storage of all special equipment. According to Ellis and Hartley, (2010), nurses are directly involved with control utilization of resources for each patient therefore this knowledge of the cost of supplies and equipment raises the consciousness of the nurse to use resources adequately and efficiently and it also enables the nurse to recognize when the supplies are faulty, inadequate, or in need of repairs and may jeopardize or compromise patient safety.
As a staff nurse in the Operating Theatre some ways in which I see that costs can be curtailed are as follows; Proper use of Medical /Surgical Equipment
The operating room is filled with high-tech medical and surgical equipment and all users must first be formally trained in the proper use, handling, cleaning and storage of these equipment and devices. What has been observed and is practiced is that new equipment is introduced and not all staff members are briefed on the proper use of these equipment, which often times leads to mishandling of these equipment/ devices that may lead to malfunctioning, thus disrupting services and continuity of care which are all tenants of waste and mismanagement. On October 31, 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in collaboration with CDC, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, issued a public health notification alerting health-care providers and the public about medical device malfunctions caused by improper use of cleaning and disinfecting liquids.* Inappropriate use of cleaning and disinfecting liquids on certain electronic medical equipment can cause equipment damage and malfunctions, which might have serious, even life-threatening consequences. My proposal to the manager involved having a weekend seminar from 9am to 2 pm for all staff when new medical/surgical equipment is being introduced. Staff attendance must be mandatory, the workshops will increase staff awareness of the equipment, enforce the proper use, handling storage and cost of the items. Members of staff who could not attend are assigned to a buddy who will formally teach them about the equipment. This teaching has to be accomplished within a time frame and a log book kept ensuring full participation. Members who volunteer to be a buddy are given a special pin and encouraged to be team leaders. This initiative drive for the proper use of all equipment will build staff cohesiveness and encourage pride in the workplace thus ensuring the smooth and effective management and use of all equipment. Over Stocking
Another area of improper use and wastage involved the over stocking of supplies. Staff members are not aware of the cost of...