There are various reasons to why a personcan become septic, but it is primarily due to an already existing infection inthe body that causes the body to overreact. When an infectious antigen entersthe body, and makes its way to our bloodstream, our bodies natural response isto initiate the inflammatory response to get rid of this infectious antigen.
Theinflammation process can trigger a cascade of changes that can potentiallydamage our tissues and organs. Sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock are thethree stages in which the inflammatory state affects the whole body. As nursesdo their rounding’s on their patients they should be on alert to early signsand symptoms of sepsis. In the article “Knowledge and Recognition of SIRS andSepsis among pediatric nurses” by Alvin D.
Jeffrey, Karen S. Mutsch, and LisaKnapp, made a study in which they assessed pediatric nurse’s knowledge onproperly identifying early signs and symptoms of sepsis. It is important fornurses to be knowledgeable on this condition, and make the proper assessmentsto be able to treat sepsis before it becomes life-threatening.
Specifically, ina pediatric unit in which children’s immune systems may be immunocompromised.Sepsis occurs typicallyas a secondary response to an already preexisting infection in the skin, gut,lungs, or kidneys. Although anyone can develop sepsis, its most common amongolder adults and those with weakened immune systems. Sepsis can be defined asthe 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 nottreated appropriately and promptly. Some of the signs and symptoms of sepsis includefever, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, tachycardia, and mentalconfusion. Labs such as a CBC, are done to check if there’s an increase ordecrease 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 inWBC can indicate a risk for infection. Other important labs often used inrecognizing 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 laboratoryvalue is important in recognizing and managing sepsis because itis a keyindicator of tissue perfusion and should be determined in the initial resuscitationphase of severe sepsis” (Jeffrey et al., p.
272). Monitoring labs, signs and symptomsare of high importance in recognizing, assessing and diagnosing sepsis. The article, “Knowledgeand Recognition of SIRS and Sepsis among pediatric nurses” by Alvin D. Jeffreyet al, conducted a study in which they took a group of pediatric nurses, andgave them different scenarios on patients who might be septic based on theirsigns and symptoms and lab values. They also wanted to find out if thepediatric nurses could implement the SIRS (systemic inflammatory response syndrome)criteria while assessing their patients as a tool is recognizing sepsis earlyon 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 degreesCelsius, tachycardia, tachypnea and lastly a low WBC count Jeffrey et al. 271).Their results concluded that many nurses felt comfortable in recognizing when apatient was experiencing sepsis but they don’t have enough knowledge in beingassertive and correct with their assessments (Jeffrey et al, p.276-277). Theirstudy also showed that the participating nurses could not recognize sepsis earlyon but until septic shock, proving that there was a correlation to a knowledgedeficit in recognizing early signs and symptoms.
They also made a correlationthat their findings were like those done on nurses who care for adult patientstoo.Patients who becomeseptic are treated in the hospital and put under neutropenic isolation. Patientsare under reverse isolation in which anything going into the room must besterilized or disinfected, and a mask and gown (optional) must be worn. Bothhealth care providers and family need to wear a mask to protect the patientfrom infectious organism. Patients who are septic are treated with antibiotics,they receive oxygen to help them breath better, and IV fluids are also administeredto maintain blood flow to organs.
The brain, heart, and kidneys are at a higherrisk for damage during septicemia, so treating the source of infection is oneof the top priorities. If left untreated or if it’s not diagnosed on time itcan possibly lead to death.The signs and symptoms ofsepsis can be easily confused for other health conditions, making it harder to diagnosethe early stages of sepsis. The recommendation that Jeffrey et al.
recommendsis that the implementation of education on sepsis should be emphasized amongnursing units (p. 277). Although his research was done on pediatric nurses,there is a chance that a knowledge deficit can be found in other specialtynursing care units as well. Educational knowledge on sepsis can help lower the numberof people affected by the harmful effects that sepsis can have on our internalorgans and decreasing the overall mortality rate. Nurses should be able to havethe tools and knowledge necessary to be able to catch the early symptoms ofsepsis, since they’re there to provide the best health care to each and one oftheir patients, a proper assessment and diagnosis can save a life. ReferencesCentersfor Disease Control and Prevention.
(2017). Sepsis. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sepsis/basic/index.htmlJeffery, A.
D., Mutsch, K. S., & Knapp, L. (2014). Knowledgeand Recognition of SIRS and Sepsisamong Pediatric Nurses.
Pediatric Nursing, 40(6), 271-278.