There damage our tissues and organs. Sepsis, severe sepsis,

There are various reasons to why a person
can become septic, but it is primarily due to an already existing infection in
the body that causes the body to overreact. When an infectious antigen enters
the body, and makes its way to our bloodstream, our bodies natural response is
to initiate the inflammatory response to get rid of this infectious antigen. The
inflammation process can trigger a cascade of changes that can potentially
damage our tissues and organs. Sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock are the
three stages in which the inflammatory state affects the whole body. As nurses
do their rounding’s on their patients they should be on alert to early signs
and symptoms of sepsis. In the article “Knowledge and Recognition of SIRS and
Sepsis among pediatric nurses” by Alvin D. Jeffrey, Karen S. Mutsch, and Lisa
Knapp, made a study in which they assessed pediatric nurse’s knowledge on
properly identifying early signs and symptoms of sepsis. It is important for
nurses to be knowledgeable on this condition, and make the proper assessments
to be able to treat sepsis before it becomes life-threatening. Specifically, in
a pediatric unit in which children’s immune systems may be immunocompromised.

Sepsis occurs typically
as a secondary response to an already preexisting infection in the skin, gut,
lungs, or kidneys. Although anyone can develop sepsis, its most common among
older adults and those with weakened immune systems. Sepsis can be defined as
the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection in the body.
Sepsis is to be taken seriously since it can lead to organ damage, if it’s not
treated appropriately and promptly. Some of the signs and symptoms of sepsis include
fever, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, tachycardia, and mental
confusion. Labs such as a CBC, are done to check if there’s an increase or
decrease in WBC count, since they’re responsible for fighting off infections.
An increase in WBC can indicate that there is an infection, and a decrease in
WBC can indicate a risk for infection. Other important labs often used in
recognizing if a patient is septic are; lactate levels and serum lactic acid levels,
“Although serum lactic acid levels are not one of the SIRS criteria, this laboratory
value is important in recognizing and managing sepsis because itis a key
indicator of tissue perfusion and should be determined in the initial resuscitation
phase of severe sepsis” (Jeffrey et al., p. 272). Monitoring labs, signs and symptoms
are of high importance in recognizing, assessing and diagnosing sepsis.

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The article, “Knowledge
and Recognition of SIRS and Sepsis among pediatric nurses” by Alvin D. Jeffrey
et al, conducted a study in which they took a group of pediatric nurses, and
gave them different scenarios on patients who might be septic based on their
signs and symptoms and lab values. They also wanted to find out if the
pediatric nurses could implement the SIRS (systemic inflammatory response syndrome)
criteria while assessing their patients as a tool is recognizing sepsis early
on prior to septic shock. There are four key indicators in recognizing SIRS,
another name for sepsis, and they are; a temperature above 38.5 or below 36 degrees
Celsius, tachycardia, tachypnea and lastly a low WBC count Jeffrey et al. 271).
Their results concluded that many nurses felt comfortable in recognizing when a
patient was experiencing sepsis but they don’t have enough knowledge in being
assertive and correct with their assessments (Jeffrey et al, p.276-277). Their
study also showed that the participating nurses could not recognize sepsis early
on but until septic shock, proving that there was a correlation to a knowledge
deficit in recognizing early signs and symptoms. They also made a correlation
that their findings were like those done on nurses who care for adult patients

Patients who become
septic are treated in the hospital and put under neutropenic isolation. Patients
are under reverse isolation in which anything going into the room must be
sterilized or disinfected, and a mask and gown (optional) must be worn. Both
health care providers and family need to wear a mask to protect the patient
from infectious organism. Patients who are septic are treated with antibiotics,
they receive oxygen to help them breath better, and IV fluids are also administered
to maintain blood flow to organs. The brain, heart, and kidneys are at a higher
risk for damage during septicemia, so treating the source of infection is one
of the top priorities. If left untreated or if it’s not diagnosed on time it
can possibly lead to death.

The signs and symptoms of
sepsis can be easily confused for other health conditions, making it harder to diagnose
the early stages of sepsis. The recommendation that Jeffrey et al. recommends
is that the implementation of education on sepsis should be emphasized among
nursing units (p. 277). Although his research was done on pediatric nurses,
there is a chance that a knowledge deficit can be found in other specialty
nursing care units as well. Educational knowledge on sepsis can help lower the number
of people affected by the harmful effects that sepsis can have on our internal
organs and decreasing the overall mortality rate. Nurses should be able to have
the tools and knowledge necessary to be able to catch the early symptoms of
sepsis, since they’re there to provide the best health care to each and one of
their patients, a proper assessment and diagnosis can save a life.










for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Sepsis. Retrieved from

Jeffery, A. D., Mutsch, K. S., & Knapp, L. (2014). Knowledge
and Recognition of SIRS and        Sepsis
among Pediatric Nurses. Pediatric Nursing, 40(6), 271-278.



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