Costs for healthcare are rising. There is not a revelation in
this statement, but as providers, we have to be mindful of the dollars we use
because it affects raises. My former mentor would drive that home for me. When
I would order a test, she would ask, "Will that test change your treatment
plan?" And if I responded with "no" then she would state, "Don't waste the
She would follow with, "I am trying to get a CT machine for the
facility." It would be nice, but it will never happen. Diagnostic imaging (CXR)
has been sufficient and if advance imaging was recommended from the
radiologist, the individual would go to our area hospital for further testing.
But again, if the treatment plan is the same most likely the individual is not
going anywhere. Do you ever feel like you are part MacGyver, Houdini, and
I have said all this
to describe a thought I had while caring for an individual who had used toilet
paper to clean his ears, and now cannot hear. He admitted to cleaning his ears
with toilet paper and the end of a pencil stating, "I think the toilet paper is
stuck in there." Without an otoscope, I could see the foreign body in both ears
and it was hard as a rock! So I decided to make a mixture of liquid Colace and
Debrox and instilled into his ear canals and let him sit for 30 minutes.
After the time had elapsed, I flushed his ears with warm
water and hydrogen peroxide. I thought of all the creative things we as nurses,
NPs and PAs have used to save on cost, time and just to downright get the job
done. For Example, Colace, the stool softener, really works to not only soften
fecal material, but cerumen, paper, and erasers from pencils. I have used
Metamucil for not only a fiber supplement to bulk one's bowel movements, but I
have also given it to my patients as a gentle facial scrub for those
individuals with acne.
Selsun Blue, the shampoo, is a wonderful mild body wash for
individuals with dermatologic issues. Toothpaste has been used for acne
pustules. The condiment mayonnaise was used recently for a lice outbreak we had
in the pregnant population. Calcium carbonate/Tums has been used for a vitamin
supplement in those who do not drink milk, and in this population they are
indoors and they do not get any sun exposure. Tongue depressors are used for
splinting fingers, and topiramate for weight loss and when the individual
states they have migraine headaches.
Even though I do not condone this behavior, individuals have
used the end of a pencil eraser for ear plugs, hence the problem at the
beginning of my blog. I have even used suture material to lace a cracked
plastic slipper; they were not on suicide watch. If there is anything you used
in the clinical setting where you repurposed a treatment or item to help with
costs, will you share it with me please? I love MacGyver!