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New ANA Recommendations for How Nurses Can Help Optimize Antibiotic Use

July 24, 2017

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recently released a white paper outlining the importance of good antibiotic stewardship and the important role nurses can play in optimizing the use of antibiotics in hospital settings.

The recommendations were developed by the ANA/U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Workgroup on the Role of Registered Nurses in Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Practices, and focus on these four areas: 

  • How bedside nurses can improve antibiotic use and support antibiotic stewardship
  • How to improve nurses’ participation in antibiotic use activities 
  • Education and training for nurses 
  • How to engage nursing leaders in antibiotic stewardship efforts

Formalized antibiotic stewardship programs (ASP), designed to improve and measure the appropriate use of antibiotic medications, have been shown to:

  • Improve infection cure rates and reduce adverse drug reactions
  • Reduce unnecessary exposure to antibiotics and slow the emergence of antibiotic resistance organisms
  • Achieve cost savings for hospitals

The ANA recommendations also emphasize that:

  • Non-optimal antibiotic use, including the “over prescribing” of antibiotics, contributes to adverse drug reactions, like C. difficile
  • Antibiotic resistance has been identified as one of the most serious threats to health in the United States
  • The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria asks acute care hospitals to implement antibiotic stewardship programs by 2020
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed making ASPs a Condition of Participation for acute care hospitals

The work of HAP’s Hospital Improvement Innovation Network supports the ANA’s recommendations. HIIN-participating hospitals identify and share best practices for implementing ASPs and combating C. difficile and other multidrug-resistant organisms.

For more information about this work, please contact HAP’s Mary Catanzaro, infection prevention project manager. 

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