Magazine article American Nurse Today

Antimicrobial Stewardship and You

Magazine article American Nurse Today

Antimicrobial Stewardship and You

Article excerpt

THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION estimates that by 2050, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will cause as many as 10 million deaths globally. Not only does AMR lead to increased mortality; it also lengthens hospital stays and drives up healthcare costs. AMR isn't just a clinical issue: Up to 70% of the antibiotics prescribed in the United States are used on healthy livestock. As a result, multidrug-resistant microbes increasingly are being documented in our food and water supplies.

Frances Hughes, ONZM, DNurs, FANZCMHN, FNZCMHN, RN, chief executive officer of the International Council of Nurses, identifies nurses as playing a critical role in antimicrobial stewardship--the coordinated effort to promote appropriate use of antimicrobials (including antibiotics) and decrease infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms. According to Hughes, nurses first and foremost educate the public, dispelling myths about effective, evidence-based care delivery. She also views nurses as advocates for legislative change, promoters of evidence-based infection prevention and control practices, and purveyors of patients' adherence to antimicrobial treatment and correct antibiotic use.

In March 2015, the White House launched the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, which provides a guide to combating AMR. The interagency plan outlines federal activities over the next 5 years to enhance domestic and international efforts to prevent and contain outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant infections. National action plan goals include:

1. Slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections.

2. Strengthen national "one-health surveillance" efforts to combat resistance.

3. Advance development and use of rapid and innovative diagnostic tests to identify and characterize resistant bacteria.

4. Accelerate basic and applied research and development for new antibiotics, other therapeutics, and vaccines.

5. Improve international collaboration and capacities for antibiotic resistance, prevention, surveillance, control, and antibiotic research and development.

As a result of the national plan, the National Quality Forum (NQF), of which the American Nurses Association (ANA) is a member, introduced a series of webinars and social media initiatives to guide action and implementation (spearheaded by the National Quality Partners). …

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