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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.

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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

3 Benefits Of An Online Antimicrobial Stewardship

by Francisco Arnold

All medical practitioners who are responsible for prescribing antibiotics should enroll in an online antimicrobial stewardship program. Continuing education in this field has several benefits for patients and the ongoing threat of antibiotic resistance.

Reduce Antibiotic Resistance

A concern in medical practice is the surge in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The major reason for this trend is the over-prescribing of antibiotics. As a practitioner, it is important to thoroughly screen patients to be certain they have a bacterial infection before prescribing antibiotics. In cases where the health risks are not significant, it is better to wait until results from a culture can be obtained. Sometimes medical practitioners can be persuaded to prescribe antibiotics, especially if a patient went through a similar problem and antibiotics seemed to help. Practitioners need to be more strict and not be persuaded by patients who typically receive antibiotics whenever they feel they are needed.

Better Patient Education

As a practitioner, it is your responsibility to better educate patients about antibiotics and ways they can reduce disease transmission. Remind them antibiotics are not effective against viral infections, such as the common cold or flu. They should also be educated on the use of antimicrobial products in their household, which may contribute to resistant strains of bacteria. For example, many people use hand soap, body wash, or bar soap that has antimicrobial properties. This is not necessary and might cause more problems, such as killing normal skin bacteria. Inform your patients that standard hand-washing practices are effective at reducing disease transmission. They should reserve their antimicrobial products for when it is absolutely necessary, such as cleaning the bathroom or using hand sanitizer because they cannot wash their hands.

Accurate Treatment

Accurate treatment of bacterial infections not only reduces antibiotic-resistance issues, but it also reduces the number of patients who "bounce back" for the same issues. One concern with the accuracy of treatment is prescribing the right antibiotic for the given situation. Certain antibiotics are considered first-line treatments for given situations, such as dog bites, inflamed cysts, or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The first-line treatment is based on the typical situation and which bacteria are most likely found. Other concerns can be prescribing antibiotics for the appropriate duration. If all the bacteria are not eliminated during the course of antibiotics, this will result in a resurgence of the infection and the same antibiotic is unlikely to be helpful.

If you prescribe antibiotics, you need to sure your prescribing practices are more helpful than hurtful. Continuing education on antimicrobial agents can help in the fight against antibiotic resistance and better educate your patients.

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