Continuous reevaluation of protocols for patients' care is necessary to maintain high quality and cost-effectiveness in today's healthcare environment. A study of patients who had cardiothoracic surgery proved that after early extubation, patients could safely be given oxygen via nasal cannula with maintenance of acceptable oxygen saturation. The positive outcomes of this study were shorter exposure to oxygen at higher concentrations, greater compliance by patients, greater comfort for patients, and cost savings for the institution. This project was the result of thoughtful consideration and a willingness to question a standard practice that had been in existence in this cardiothoracic program for 20 years. Both patients and the institution benefit when we question why we do things and thoroughly evaluate our daily practice. All practitioners should always look for ways to change and improve practice for the betterment of patients.

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