The use of central venous catheters makes it possible for medical professionals to provide long-term care for patients who need frequent doses of injected medicine. These catheters provide a reliable means of administering drugs and facilitating medical tests. However, catheters, in general, can lead to infection if not properly managed. This paper presents the main issues addressed in my learning contract regarding the use of central venous catheters.
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The increasing use of central venous catheters correlates positively with increasing incidences of secondary infection among patients. Patients who have central venous catheters inserted onto their bodies have a higher incidence of secondary infections in healthcare settings. At the same time, outpatients with active central venous catheters are also at an increased risk of infection. This makes it important for all healthcare professionals to learn about how to take care of central venous catheters in order to minimize the risk of secondary infections among patients under their care. At the same time, this knowledge empowers healthcare professionals to train outpatients on how to manage the central venous catheter to avoid infection.
The three main objectives of this learning contract are as follows. First, the contract will help me to increase the breadth and width of my knowledge in relation to central venous catheters. This includes learning about the different types of central venous catheters and their applications, as well as the limitations and drawbacks of using central venous catheters. Under this objective, I also want to learn about how to care for central venous catheters. In addition, I want to understand the clinical factors that predispose patients with central venous catheters to infection.
The second objective in my learning contract is to understand the factors that lead to the loss of line patency in central venous catheters. Central venous catheters must have the ability to resist occlusion in order to fulfill their clinical role. The use of heparin or heparinized saline helps to maintain the patency of central venous catheters. My goal here is to understand what factors lead to the occlusion of the central venous catheters. In addition, I want to understand the risks associated with the use of heparin in central venous catheters.
The third learning objective is to understand the evidence-based nursing interventions that improve line patency and reduce infections caused by the use of central venous catheters. My hope is that these objectives would lead to the improvement of my clinical skills in the use of central venous catheters.
Learning Resources and Strategies
The learning resources and strategies used in this exercise were as follows. First, I reviewed literature addressing how to care for central venous catheters. There is a wide body of knowledge in this respect. I learned about different types of central venous catheters and I deduced the relative advantages of using certain types of catheters in some situations. I also learned that there is a need to work with the patient at all times because the patient plays a very critical role in keeping the catheter free from infection.
Secondly, I reviewed indications and guidelines governing the use of central venous catheters. Some of this information came from the manufacturers of central venous catheters to assist caregivers to make good decisions. Other bits of this information came from regulatory texts and from practitioners involved in the clinical application and management of catheters. I also benefited a lot from the views of more experienced medical professionals who use catheters on a regular basis.
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In addition, I reviewed statistical sources of information regarding the prevalence of infections due to the use of catheters. The statistics showed an increase in the rate of infections among patients using central venous catheters. The main causes of this increase included the increasing number of patients using catheters due to their popularity in long-term care. In addition, patients have central venous catheters on their bodies for a long period. This increases the chances of getting infections during the treatment regime.
The fourth element of my learning strategies was a review of actions that nurses can take to reduce the chances of patients developing infections related to the use of central venous catheters. Nurses play a vital role in maintaining the efficacy of central venous catheters. Some of the nursing actions that I discovered included conducting regular inspections to determine whether there are any signs of infection in the area of insertion. This measure alone can help eliminate infections arising from poor patient hygiene. Other signs include the presence of pus or inflammation around the entry point of the catheter. The best cause of action is to pay attention to infection as soon as it is detected.
Evidence of Accomplishment
The evidence of accomplishment that is associated with this work includes the following. First, I will prepare and submit an evidence-based learning package that can inform other healthcare professionals about the best practices in central venous catheter management. The package will include all the insights gleaned from the processes described in the section above. The package is geared towards learning. This means that the contents will not be prescriptive. The content will present findings in a way that encourages the readers to apply the concepts in their own context.
Secondly, I will develop a powerpoint presentation to present my findings and conclusions. The reasons for developing a PowerPoint presentation are as follows. First PowerPoint presentations make it easy to deliver information to an interested audience. The presentation will give information in a way that encourages interaction. Secondly, it is easy to share PowerPoint presentations with other people. This means that other professionals can give the same presentation to others. This will increase the rate of dissemination of the information.
The third evidence of accomplishment will be the development of a set of guidelines for the care of central venous catheters. While the goal of this exercise is not to be prescriptive about what to do and what to avoid, the process should provide a set of guidelines. In my view, these guidelines would be a summary of the best practices in catheter management gleaned from various sources.
The final element of the project will be the completion of all writing tasks emanating from the task. The completion of the writing tasks will demonstrate that I have conceptualized the issues and arrived at a conclusion.
I believe that this study has given me the skills and knowledge I need to handle central venous catheters in clinical settings. I hope that I will eliminate the risk of secondary infections among patients with central venous catheters under my care. In addition, I hope that I will influence the clinical actions of my colleagues in this area to reduce infections among patients in my healthcare facility.