The judicious use of antibiotics is a critical aspect of patient care, as it helps to minimize the development of antibiotic resistance and improve patient outcomes. Nurses and nursing organizations have the potential to play a significant role in improving policies that promote the rational use of antibiotics in humans. This can be achieved through various strategies that focus on education, surveillance, and collaboration with other healthcare professionals.
Firstly, nursing organizations should prioritize antibiotic stewardship programs, which aim to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics and reduce unnecessary prescribing. These programs should focus on providing education and training to healthcare professionals, including nurses, about antibiotic resistance and the importance of using antibiotics only when necessary. Nurses, as frontline healthcare providers, can actively participate in these programs by staying updated on the latest evidence-based guidelines for antibiotic use, and by advocating for the implementation of these guidelines in their practice settings.
Additionally, nurses can contribute to the development of policies by actively participating in the creation of guidelines and protocols for antibiotic use within their healthcare organizations. Nurses’ input can help ensure that these policies are patient-centered, aligned with evidence-based practices, and facilitate the judicious use of antibiotics. This can be achieved through involvement in multidisciplinary committees, such as infection control committees, where nurses can collaborate with other healthcare professionals to develop policies that address local antimicrobial resistance patterns and ensure the appropriate use of antibiotics.
In terms of surveillance, nurses can contribute to both global and domestic disease surveillance systems. Global disease surveillance systems, such as the World Health Organization’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS), collect and analyze data to monitor patterns of antimicrobial resistance worldwide. Nurses can play a crucial role in reporting relevant data to these surveillance systems, ensuring that accurate and timely information is available to guide policy development.
Domestic disease surveillance systems focus on monitoring and responding to infectious diseases within a specific country or region. Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) can contribute to domestic disease surveillance by actively monitoring and reporting cases of infectious diseases in their practice settings. FNPs have a unique advantage in this aspect, as they often have close and continuous relationships with patients and their families, allowing them to identify and report cases of potential importance. FNPs can collaborate with public health agencies and local health departments to contribute to the surveillance efforts, which can help identify trends in antimicrobial resistance, inform public health interventions, and facilitate the development of policies that promote the judicious use of antibiotics.
In conclusion, nurses and nursing organizations can improve policies to encourage the judicious use of antibiotics in humans through various strategies. These include prioritizing antibiotic stewardship programs, actively participating in policy development, and contributing to global and domestic disease surveillance systems. By taking an active role, nurses can help mitigate the risks associated with antibiotic resistance and improve patient outcomes.