What’s the Cost For One Life Saved?
What’s the cost for one life saved? I always knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I started my career as a paramedic where I saved lives every day. Unfortunately, I only saw the patient for a short amount of time and many times didn’t know the outcome of the patient unless it was tragic. I found myself back in school and soon I was a Registered Nurse. As any nurse, I aspire to make a difference in the people’s lives I come across. I became a nurse because I care and want to help others. I saw as both a staff nurse and a charge nurse that nurses were stretched too thin and it took very skillful nurses to manage patient care and balance everything nurses needed to “complete” to fulfill all if the requirements and keep patients both happy and safe. I wanted to be the advocate for both the nurses and the patients and decided to progress into leadership to make a difference. In this role I found myself in a world where you had to earn trust from staff, patients, and families. In this role you had to make some very difficult decisions and deliver some very difficult news to both staff, patients, and families.
As a leader I was on the lookout for a solution that would provide a safer environment for patients with less adverse events. We were fortunate to pilot the ViSi Mobile solution on a 26 bed Med/Surg in a high acuity Med Surg unit (although not classified as a PCU) and had a 5 to 1 and sometimes a 6 to 1 nurse to patient ratio. We decided not to risk stratify and to use ViSi on all patients as the standard of care for unit. Looking back after the first few weeks, I was very thankful that we did not risk stratify as there were patients that were not been placed on the monitor due to not being a “high risk” and could have possibly died. One memory that stands out and is still with me to this day was a 19-year-old male that had increased intracranial pressure (not high enough to be in the ICU). He had a headache and therefore was receiving a low dose of narcotic medication. ViSi alarmed for low respiratory rate and the nurse responded as he was near respiratory arrest. This patient may not have been seen for 45 minutes since the nursing assistant had just rounded and didn’t notice anything abnormal. She noted that he was resting and hadn’t slept well the night before.
Throughout the time this unit participated in this pilot we saw many significant interventions. We knew that we saved multiple patients’ lives (shown as a decrease in overall decrease in unit’s mortality rate), and it had a positive impact on the staff’s workflow. When the pilot ended and the equipment was packed up, we waited while leadership decided if we would move forward with implementation. Many staff members would come to my office and tell me that without continuous monitoring, we wouldn’t have been able to catch deteriorating patients as quickly and that we had a moral obligation to continue to do so. This is true staff buy in and staff that adopted and saw the benefit of a surveillance monitoring, the benefit to the patient and their workflow.
Many have asked why I left the hospital setting and came to Sotera. I know, from my professional experience, that ViSi Mobile saves patient lives and improves patient safety. That through successful nurse adoption of surveillance monitoring, both patients and nurses can benefit when ViSi Mobile is the standard of care. So I ask again what’s the cost for one life saved?
Christina Taylor, MSN RN SCRN, VP of Nursing has over two decades of experience in healthcare. Her expertise include being a paramedic, bedside clinician, critical care bedside nurse, leader, manager, and mentor. She is now improving patient safety on a national level by working with nurse leaders and clinicians to incorporate surveillance monitoring practices into their daily workflow through the ViSi Mobile System as she believes every life matters. Christina Taylor has also served on the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing as President (2018-2019) and is currently beginning her term on the Agnes Marshall Walker Foundation (AMWF) as the President as she continues her commitment of service to Neuroscience Nurses and the patients they serve.