Microbial organisms include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Antimicrobial medications are currently overused or misused, which has resulted in multidrug resistance. Hospitalized patients in the intensive care unit have the highest risk for infections leading to poor outcomes and require successful treatment options.
Inappropriate prescription of antimicrobials places patients and the community at risk for more resistant infections in the future. To prevent misapplication of these important medications, interdisciplinary antimicrobial stewardship programs promote appropriate and safe antimicrobial medication use. Members of these programs are called to be good stewards of antimicrobial medications, incorporating the scope of practice and knowledge of each specialty and the evidence from the literature to develop strategies and protocols for safe and effective antimicrobial medication use.
Nurse involvement in antimicrobial stewardship programs is inadequate, limiting the programs’ potential. Support for increased direct-care nurse participation in antimicrobial stewardship programs is key to improve program targets and patient outcomes.
This article calls for increased nursing awareness of the importance of antimicrobial stewardship programs in clinical practice and greater direct-care nurse involvement in these programs.