Bugs vs. Drugs

Here, in the biggest teeny-tiny arms race, it’s The Bugs vs. Our Drugs. So far, our drugs are holding. Mostly. But we’re losing ground, and the bugs are coming on strong. And at the bedside, we can see it.

From prevention and containment, to diagnosis, treatment and recovery, nursing work is influenced by, and organized around infectious disease. Miraculous breakthroughs in science, technology and engineering have brought us our antimicrobials and diagnostic tools, and have informed our knowledge base and practices. But amidst the challenges of modern health care, it is tough to remember that the tablets, capsules, powders and liquids we work with so frequently, are actually little miracles. Sometimes actually getting them into people is another miracle.

As nurses, we work with antimicrobials a lot. And we really like it when the antimicrobials work and the person gets better. But we also know that resistance is rising and that containment is very difficult. So what is a nurse to do? How do we best use antimicrobials to treat our patients today, while still safeguarding the future? Clearly we have a role here, but what exactly is it?

Linda Jorgoni has been exploring this question for over a decade as a clinical nurse specialist in antimicrobial stewardship at University Health Network in Toronto. Along with pharmacist Clarissa Chung from Mount Sinai Hospital, we explore antimicrobial resistance and discuss the knowledge, judgement, communication and teamwork required to use antimicrobials wisely to benefit our patients today and into the future.

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BMJ Open: Evaluating the effect of nurse-initiated discussion on infection management during ICU bedside rounds

NEJM: Stop-IT Trial

CDC: ANA White Paper: Nurses’ role in hospital antibiotic stewardship practices

At The Bedside
At The Bedside
Bugs vs. Drugs