OK. So we all know that our patients are in isolation for a reason. They unfortunately possess one of the number of infectious pathogens that have the potential to contaminate and infect not only themselves, but the hospital staff and any and all visitors that happen to make direct or indirect contact with the patient.
So we place them in different levels of isolation precautions to minimize if not eliminate this possibility. We don the endless combination of gloves, gown and mask all for the sake of sterility and safety. Everything that is in the room stays in the room, and no object can come into the room and then leave the room due to the potential for spreading the infection.
All of our supplies are ‘isolated’.
We segregate anything we would need as well as have specially made supplies that go on the ‘isolation cart’ to care for these patients. Everything from the gloves, gown, mask and all other predicted supplies needed.
Including the ‘let’s pretend-play’ stethoscope.
Oh, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The stethoscope that looks like it was stolen from the ‘Playskool’ catalog shelves. It even comes in the wonderful ‘Playskool’ colors of chalk-white and mustard-yellow.
I’m all for increasing our patient safety – but don’t you think these things should actually do the job they are made for?? It’s a stethoscope right? So conventional wisdom would have you believe that you should listen to heart and lung sounds with this ‘toy’ instrument right?
Have you ever TRIED listening to a patient’s heart or lungs with those darn things? Using that stethoscope is about as effective as banging your head against a wall to burn calories. While both get the job done, it’s a horribly painful and ineffective way of getting results.
Those darn yellow plastic stethoscopes in isolation rooms. Am I alone on this?