Nurses and trash

While working in the medical field I observe an over abundant amount of waste produced ever single day. Each patient when preparing for medications,(a primary component of the medical field) gets a brand new styrofoam or plastic cups each time , sometimes they get more than one, depending on the situation(dropped the cup, threw away and had more coming) . One single day holds on average 3 medication passes and the number of patients can range from 1 to 80 depending on the medical facility acuity. THIS needs to CHANGE. Nurses could start using the patients own water pitcher and refilling it several times a day will eliminate the over consumption of plastic and styrofoam cups. Most don’t care enough or don’t think about the amount of waste production the medical facility creates on a single day. Trash is simply something that is out of sight out of mind unfortunately.

Completing the medication administration, these cups go immediately into the trash. A typical nursing home, one nurse can have as many as 25 patients. So 25(PT)x3(MP)=75 for one section. Most nursing homes have about 4 nurses working a section. If all nurses had the same number of residents, the number of pt would increase to 100(PT)x3(MP)=300 cups per day used by only the patients. this doesn’t mention, the staff that come by and grab a new cup each time they need a drink, or how often the nurse gets a new cup. 300 cups per day is 2100 cups/wk, or 8400 cups per month. OMG! 8,400 plastic cups per month get wasted by one medical facility. Thats 8,400 more cups in the landfill each month. Thats scary. What about the 2000 nursing homes in Ohio would generate 1,680,000 cups added to landfill per month only in Ohio. I’m only guessing at the number of facilities in Ohio.

Due to guidelines and infection control practices, single use medical equipment is very common. I suppose this is good for sick patients but when is it too much? Why can’t nurses and patients be required to use the patients personal water containers they receive upon admission? It would be nice to ban these one-use plastic and styrofoam cups, utensils, straws.

The use of plastic depends for incontinence, Ave incontinence supplies, plastic medical equipment, small plastic medicine cups, plastic straws, plastic medication containers, plastic spoons, plastic food containers, plastic pill bottles, plastic tubing, plastic oxygen concentrator, plastic IV bags, plastic IV catheters, and I could go on but you get the point. All this gets disposed on a monumental level on a daily basis.

In the past, surgical medical equipment was made of solid durable metal that would be sterilized via through the autoclave method. This method is still widely used today but the rate of consumer waste and consumption in the medical field, continues to be a major problem. Medical surgical equipment is many times single use now and plastic. It is cheaper and gaurenteed sterile. However, in several years, with waste production and air pollution an inevitable danger, healthcare will have to increase their demand as people’s health continues to decline from severe pollution of our economy, polluted water, air, dying off of wild life, deforestation. It’s all very iminent.

Making the decision to change one thing about the way you consume or dispose can make a very dramatic change for the good of our world. Think about how your industry is contributing to the good of our economy and see what you can do to change it for the better. Be the voice of change. Before throwing AWAY, think about another use for that disposal item. Don’t buy things you don’t need, and think about it before you buy. Do you really need this or is it just something you want? Will this item be relevant in 10 years because it most likely will still be around.

Our economy is suffering and so is wildlife. We are meant to live in the world cohabitating with nature and wildlife but the unfortunate factor is that we are more concerned about what were can get, consume, order, buy, own, ship then the state of our world. Most believe, “out of sight out of mind” is acceptable. At the rate we’re throwing away out of sight will not last long and throwing AWAY will be too close for comfort.

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