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Protect Antibiotics Toolkit
Antibiotic resistance continues to be a growing problem in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) roughly 2 million patients get an infection in a hospital, and about 90,000 of those patients die as a result of that infection.
Support for PAMTA
Nursing organizations nationwide have expressed their opposition to non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics by supporting the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (S. 619/H.R. 1549)
More than 70 percent of the bacteria that cause nosocomial infections are resistant to at least one antibiotic used to treat them. This leads to patients having longer hospital stays and requires treatment with second- or third-choice drugs that may be less effective, and more expensive.
Widespread use of antibiotics increases the spread of antibiotic resistance. An estimated 70 percent of antibiotics and related drugs are routinely added to the feed of healthy livestock and healthy poultry to promote growth and compensate for unsanitary living conditions. While the medical community has taken steps to minimize unnecessary use of antibiotics, routine agricultural use of antibiotics remains largely unchecked. Many antibiotic feed additives are identical or very nearly so to human medicines, including penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin and sulfa drugs.
Nursing organizations nationwide have expressed their opposition to this practice by supporting the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (S. 619/H.R. 1549) also known as PAMTA.
These include the American Nurses Association (ANA), American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and state nurses associations from Pennsylvania to California. The ANA has also adopted two resolutions calling for a phase-out in the non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics.
Individual nurses can make a difference by using the information provided in this electronic toolkit to support changes at the federal policy level, within the walls of their institutions and in their personal food choices.
- Calling Nurses to Action: Preserving Antibiotics for Medical Treatment
This one page double-sided flyer is great to hand out at meetings, health fairs, and other events where nurse colleagues, hospital staff and/or the public gather. Download and make copies.
- Health Practitioner Electronic Petition to Congress to Support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act
This is a quick means to lend your support for PAMTA electronically. Forward the link to colleagues.
- Sample letter to Congress in support of PAMTA
This sample letter can be downloaded and sent as a hard copy to your legislators. Hard copies can be very effective at demonstrating your support.
- Sample letter to your institution's food service director
To protect antibiotics, many hospitals around the country are changing what meat and poultry they purchase. Download this letter and ask your hospital to do the same.
- Sample editorials for ANA and state nursing associations [coming soon]
Use these sample editorials and send to your nursing journals and newsletters.
- Poultry and meat purchasing resources
Learn more from this list of resources
- Nurse to Nurse: An Interview on Agricultural Antibiotic Overuse [coming soon]
Nurses working with Health Care Without Harm's Food Work Group created this video to help nurses understand how the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics impacts human health. Nurses play an important role to protect and prevent harm to patients, health care workers and visitors. Also, the videos will help guide nurses to advocate for healthier food choices in their health care facilities.
Other Nurse-Specific Resources
- Healthy Food in Health Care — American Nurses Association 2008 House of Delegates Resolution (pdf)
- Inappropriate Use of Antimicrobials in Agriculture- 2004 ANA House of Delegates (pdf)
- Keeping Antibiotics Working, an article by Barbara Sattler, RN, originally published in The Maryland Nurse (pdf)
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