Best Practices

Pharmacists are vitally important in enhancing patients’ adherence to oral chemotherapy medications, and there are approaches that pharmacies can take to improve compliance, Sylvia Bartel, RPh, told attendees of the NCCN Pharmacy Program held during the 17th Annual Conference of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) in Hollywood, Florida.

With the growing number of cancer survivors, survivorship planning is getting a lot of attention. An important aspect of cancer survivorship is the effects on nurses, who become “secondary survivors,” of the toll cancer takes on patients and families. As such, nurses need to be aware of the possibility of “compassion fatigue.”

A recent study, published in August 2011 by Friese and colleagues, correlates the incidence of accidental chemotherapy exposure in outpatient infusion centers to several factors.1 Appearing first online in BMJ Quality and Safety, the article discusses staffing and resource availability, as well as adherence to safety practice standards and their contribution to higher chemotherapy exposure event reporting. In summary, when the nurses sampled reported adequate staffing and resource availability, the reported incidence of accidental exposure to chemotherapy was lower.

Many oncology nurses may be wearing uniforms that contain harmful bacteria, including drug-resistant organisms. A new study has found that more than 60% of hospital staff’s uniforms are colonized with potentially pathogenic bacteria. The study, which was published in the September issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (Wiener-Well Y, et al. 2011;39:555-559), suggests that physicians and nurses may be transferring pathogens that could cause clinically relevant infection.

Almost 1 of 5 oncology nurses is unintentionally exposed to chemotherapy agents, according to an article published online August 16 in BMJ (British Medical Journal) Quality & Safety.

More than 60% of hospital staff uniforms are colonized with potentially pathogenic bacteria, according to a new study (Am J Infect Control. 2011;39:555-559). The findings suggest that physicians and nurses may be transferring pathogens that could cause clinically relevant infection.

Interestingly, the findings may have significant implications for oncology pharmacists. The investigators found antibiotic-resistant bacteria isolated from samples from 14% of nurses’ uniforms and 6% of physicians’ uniforms.

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