Effort in Safety: Nurse Requests Patient’s Identification 150 Times in 1 Shift

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62473383 - portrait of smiling nurse wearing spectacle in hospital roomBOSTON, MA – Nurse Tracy Painter, RN, BSN, now holds a national record.  In the course of one ER shift, she asked the same patient for his name and birthdate a whopping 150 times.  The patient, a 30-year-old male whose identity is being kept secret out of respect for HIPAA, was the restrained driver in a roll-over MVA and was ejected.  Fortunately, he sustained no life-threatening injuries.  However, due to his multiple fractures, abrasions and lacerations he required numerous interventions.  Since he sustained no loss of consciousness, he was required to identify himself before every procedure or medication.

From Neosporin application to tetanus immunization, from numerous Dilaudid doses to his IV Ancef, Nurse Painter exhibited due diligence in protecting the seriously-injured patient from medication errors.

“I take safety very seriously,” said Ms. Painter.  “No patient is going to have a med error on my shift.  So, just to be careful, I even ask for their name and birthdate before I give them ice chips.  Or anything.  I mean it, can you imagine what might happen if I gave the wrong patient a warm blanket, and they were already hyperthermic or something?  I can’t even think about it.’

Nurse Painter’s professionalism is widely regarded.  She’s something of a legend among local nursing administrators, as her previous record was for “most times interrupting a physician who was charting during shift.”  When asked about it, she smiled sweetly.  “I don’t like to brag, but that was a good day.  Dr. Howard was charting about this complex septic patient and I managed to ask him 26 separate questions before he finished.  He actually threw the Dragon microphone across the room and had to have counseling.  But it was all for the sake of safety, trust me!’

We were able to contact the patient whose identity and birthday were queried for the Nurse Painter’s most recent achievement.  He thinks back on the event with pride.  “I mean, dude, it’s cool to be part of a record like that.  One time I tried to break a record for tequila shots, but I don’t remember what happened.  That nurse, though, she was serious. Honest to goodness, I thought I had a head injury or something and was just imagining that I was saying my name, and birthday, over and over again.  Funny thing is, they had my birthday wrong.”

An award ceremony by the State Board of Nursing is scheduled for November, in honor of Ms. Painter’s achievement.

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