ICU Team Excited to Untangle Lines

Yes, the article in the link above is satire…but it really hits close to home. You would not believe the mess your lines can get in, either from the OR (what do they DO in there?) or via mischievous elves overnight. The message here is that organization is key. If this were a code situation, or even just a garden variety emergency…what line would you use to push some bicarb, or some epinephrine? How long do you think you have to figure that out?

If you are working on a Med/Surg floor, then this probably won’t be a huge issue for you, but if you are working ICU or ED, then untangling and labeling lines absolutely must be a priority for you…a sick patient will have at least 4 pumps running (probably more like 7 to 10), plus a line for CVP/RAP and an arterial line…that’s a lot of tubing running every which way!

So, when doing your start-of-shift assessment, get some tape and label each and every line…trace it from the bag to the pump to the patient. Label it just above the Y-Site connector, and ensure everything that’s running together is allowed to run together.

And yes, there is a part of your OCD brain that will find great pleasure in seeing your beautifully labeled lines for the rest of your shift…just don’t send your patient to the OR (j/k!)


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