Today I went in to see a patient in the hospital, and while I was taking his history, the LPN came in to give him some medication through his IV line. Lung cancer had taken its toll on his little body, and even though he has finished treatment and was told he is in remission, he is still quite frail. As he lay there, telling me about how the last two days had been filled with nausea, vomiting blood, and diarrhea every time he drinks water, the smiling nurse went about her business. She seemed so competent from where he lay. No hesitation in her actions, as if she's done it a million times. Oh, the confidence he had in her. He had no idea that she (1) didn't wash her hands upon entering the room, (2) laid two syringes on the bed without capped ends (one with saline and I assume the other with medication for pain) and (3) that she didn't use alcohol to wipe the IV port where she attached the needleless syringes - the same ones that were lying open on the bed. She smiled as she left, he thanked her and called her "honey."
This is not the first time I have reported this nurse for incompetence. I really don't think she understands that those simple omissions could lead to bacteremia, and in a patient this weak, possibly death. Please remind your students and colleagues to treat every patient as they would want their own family member to be treated.