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Petra Fritz, R.N.

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Petra Fritz, R.N., Inpatient Accreditation Coordinator, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical CenterPetra Fritz, R.N., Inpatient Accreditation Coordinator, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

Applying her nursing skills to ensure staff and patients stay safe.

Fritz applies her expertise about safety to teach other nurses and staff about disaster prevention.

What does your job involve?
My job involves many types of activities. I work under the direction of the Accreditation Manager. As a team, we work with staff in our inpatient units to make sure they understand the National Patient Safety Goals - set up by the Department of Public Health, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission - to provide quality patient care and safety.

The goals involve things like checking wristbands, practicing proper hand hygiene, making sure reports are given correctly, providing the right hand-off procedure when nurses give patient reports during transfers of shifts, and educating nurses about patient fall prevention. If a patient falls in any unit, we get the incident report and follow up to find out if it was preventable and what we could have done better.

March is patient safety awareness month. What's your involvement?
We work with the Department of Emergency Preparedness and the Nursing Department to make sure each department has a disaster box with anything a nurse might need - a whistle, a flashlight, high-calorie snack bars - in case of an earthquake or other disaster. We also work on the online command policy and have drills for the nurses four times a month.

I also work with our "Measure to Achieve Patient Safety" group. This is a group of undergraduate students interested in healthcare who observe hospital staff performing correct practices in delivering safe care such as hand hygiene and use of two patient identifiers.

Fall prevention is a big issue in hospitals. What do we do at UCLA?
We are rolling out a Fall Ambassador Program that will help increase awareness of fall risk for inpatients and train nurses on how to handle patients during their rounds. When you go in the patient's room, you don't just ask, "Are you okay?" That's not enough. We train nurses to follow what we call the six Ps, which include patient's Pain level, Personal needs (example: bathroom activities), patient's Position, Placement of patient's items, Prevention of falls and Pumps (making sure the pump functions correctly and beeps only when necessary). Research has proven that purposeful hourly rounding increases patient satisfaction scores and decreases falls. We also help nurses in understanding what fall prevention tools we have and how to use the tools correctly.

Why did you become a nurse?
I love to care for patients and their families. It makes my life feel so purposeful. Nursing is a very holistic job. There is always something you can do to help a patient and/or family during any phase of illness. I also love working with others to make patients safe.

How did you come to UCLA?
I am from Germany and worked as an ICU nurse for many years. I immigrated to the United States about 15 years ago and started at UCLA as a volunteer. After I took the Registered Nurse Examination, I worked in Tucson, Arizona, for a while. I really liked my volunteer service at UCLA and wanted to get an ICU job at the hospital. I was able to get an RN job in the Neuro Trauma ICU.

What is your most memorable experience as a nurse?
There are so many memorable stories about wonderful patients that I have had the chance to work with and be a part of their lives. It is impossible to pick just one. But if I have to pick something, it is the great team experience I have had with other nurses. In the time I've been a nurse, I've always known that whatever happens to a patient (good or bad), my fellow nurses who will support, help and guide me.

What are your hobbies or other interests?
My family keeps me busy. In my free time, I love to read, swim and hike.