MDs Could Be Sharper Than Certified Legal Nurse Consultants Think

Just about every doctor and nurse in hospitals own a Sharpie® at one time or another. Some use them for marking patients and others to label their lunch. It turns out that two different studies on infection risk found that good old fashioned Sharpies out-perform surgical markers in protecting patients from the risk of infection.

The 2008 study was conducted in Canada at the University of Alberta followed in 2009 with a study on reducing surgical site infections (SSIs) at Duke University in the U.S.

So long as an alcohol-based Sharpie is capped (and the outside properly swabbed) between uses on patients, the risks of passing on four common resistant bacteria – Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), E. coli, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa – are much lower with a Sharpie than with a surgical pen.

Changing from surgical markers is a great way to do some cost-cutting at your facility while keeping down the risk of wrong-site surgeries. Why not kill two birds with one stone and still have a pen to make your more subtle points?

Success Is Inside!

P.S. Comment and tell us: “Is your hospital using Sharpies to mark the spot?”

P.P.S. Just learned Vickie Milazzo Institute made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for the 3rd year in row! Woo-hoo!

2 thoughts on “MDs Could Be Sharper Than Certified Legal Nurse Consultants Think

  1. Prior to my surgery, I marked my leg with “over here” “and “lower” warnings for the surgeon. (well, my friends actually did the writing, but I was encouraging them all the way!) Heck yes! At least surgery was done to the correct leg! Anything to avoid that mistake. It’s funny how those little things can change. I remember when they said there wasn’t a need for alcohol swabs prior to injections. But nurses were so accustomed to using them, we didn’t stop.

    These are fun facts. I wonder how much money is saved using sharpies instead of marking pens. I suppose the money is limitless when you think about avoiding the wrong leg or wrong arm.
    I love these little facts that typically nurses only know about the hospital. It’s those little things that can make a big difference to a nurse reviewing a case. Thanks Vickie.

  2. Will have to bring our infection control department up to speed on this article.
    I still carry my sharpie and use it all the time,not on patients skin but to label iv lines with date.Thanks Vickie for the update.

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