Infection Control For Nursing
Infection control is a vital part of nursing practice, as it helps to protect both the patient and the nurse. The purpose of infection control is to minimize the risk of spreading infections from one person to another. The most common ways this happens are through contact with blood or bodily fluids that contain germs; touching objects contaminated by these fluids; and breathing in small particles from infected people who sneeze or cough near you.
Hand hygiene is one of the most important practices that can help prevent the spread of infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a five step hand hygiene process:
- Washing with soap and water—use warm water and plenty of soap to wash your hands, scrubbing all surfaces until they’re clean.
- Rinsing with plain water—rinse your hands well under running water. Make sure all traces of soap are gone before you proceed to the next step on this list!
- Dry off completely—dry your hands thoroughly with a paper towel or air dryer, then use another paper towel to turn off faucet handles; don’t touch them again until you’ve put on gloves because it only takes seconds for microbes from other people’s hands and their environments to attach themselves to these surfaces!
- Put on gloves if necessary—if you’ll be touching something particularly dirty or likely harboring bacteria like an infected wound or patient belongings like stethoscopes or thermometers then definitely put some gloves on first so as not risk getting infected yourself (just make sure those are new ones since reusing old ones could lead even unknowingly worn out equipment).
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used to protect you and others from infection. PPE includes gloves, gowns, masks and eye protection. All procedures that have a risk of infection should be done using PPE.
- Gloves: Gloves should always be worn when handling patients’ blood or bodily fluids and during invasive procedures such as inserting an intravenous line or taking cultures from wounds. Long-fingered gloves are preferable to short-fingered gloves because they allow better tactile sensation when touching the patient’s skin; however they can be bulky and interfere with handwashing after glove removal.
- Gowns: A clean gown will protect your clothing from contamination by splashes or spills that may occur while removing contaminated dressings or cleaning up vomitus or feces (called “wet work”). You should change out of your street clothes into a clean set of scrubs before starting this type of wet work so that nothing gets on them when changing back out later in the shift.
- Masks: There are three types of masks available for use by healthcare workers: surgical mask, paper drape/N95 mask (sometimes called a surgeon’s cap), full face respirator mask
Nurses are required to clean their environment frequently, as sick patients are often in close proximity. Cleaning agents should be used on a daily basis. When cleaning, nurses must use proper techniques and equipment to avoid contaminating themselves or others.
- Use cleaning agents that are approved for use in the health care setting.
- Wear gloves during all procedures involving bodily fluids or secretions (i.e., urine, feces).
- Follow standard precautions for handling sharp objects or body fluid spills by using disposable towels or mats whenever possible instead of cloth materials that could be reused multiple times before being disposed of safely.* If you need to reuse any material that has come into contact with bodily fluids (such as bedding), disinfect it first by soaking it in diluted bleach solution before washing thoroughly.* Disinfect all surfaces regularly–at least once per day–by using an EPA-registered disinfectant such as Lysol to eliminate any pathogens harbored thereon.* Keep all rooms clean at all times: sweep/mop floors regularly; wipe down walls with a disinfectant weekly; dust furniture every few weeks; keep trash cans emptied daily; change sheets at least twice per week (more often if necessary); wash hands frequently throughout the day!
Respiratory hygiene & cough etiquette
- Cough etiquette
- Don’t cough, or sneeze, on anyone. If you must cough or sneeze, do so into your sleeve and not directly on someone. You can also blow your nose into a tissue or handkerchief and then dispose of it in a waste bin (not on the floor).
- Hand hygiene is a major component of infection control. The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time you use the bathroom or first interact with patients, family members, or visitors who have been exposed to someone who is sick. This includes before starting an IV line or working with medications that require administration by syringe (pills).
- As soon as possible after using the bathroom break eye contact with other people to avoid passing anything from your hands onto their faces; don’t eat unless you’re sitting far away from others; if possible sit next to someone who has already been coughing for awhile so that no one else catches whatever they have!
- Use a puncture-proof sharps container (such as a specially designed biohazard container) to dispose of all used needles, syringes, lancets, and other sharp items. Never recap the needle or use it again on another patient unless you are properly trained to do so.
- Never recap used needles or reuse them for any purpose whatsoever; this includes giving them back to nurses and doctors who may not be aware that they have been contaminated with infectious material.
- Do not place used sharps in the trash can or empty bucket where they could puncture through plastic bags and expose others to blood-borne pathogens. Always double bag used sharps before disposing of them in an approved medical waste container or disposal bin designated as “sharps only” by your facility
Safe injection practices & medication safety
- Safe injection practices:
- Use only sterile, non-reusable syringes and needles.
- Never use a syringe or needle more than once.
- Always use a new needle for each patient. If you are using a multi-dose vial, transfer the medication into a single-use container before administering it to the patient. This will prevent contamination from previous administrations of medication from getting into your new dose. If you must administer different drugs in the same syringe, make sure they are compatible with one another; consult with an infectious disease expert before doing this at all (or if there is any doubt).
Sterile technique is the process of keeping all equipment used in a sterile state for its intended use. This includes gloves, masks, gowns, and other devices used to care for patients. Sterile conditions are important because they help prevent the spread of infection from one person to another.
If you are using sterile equipment on your patient or if you think someone else is using it without being properly protected by wearing gloves or putting on a face mask, you should do everything possible not to touch anything that isn’t clean. When in doubt about whether something may have been contaminated with germs because it was touched by an unsterile body part (such as hands), remember that even slight contact can be enough for germs to get transferred from one person’s body into another’s bloodstream through cuts that aren’t even visible yet!
Standard Precautions are a set of guidelines used to prevent the spread of disease. They are a framework for infection control in healthcare settings, and they apply to everyone who comes into contact with a patient or their bodily fluids. Standard Precautions include:
- Hand hygiene
- Gloving up (or using barrier protection)
- Safe needle disposal
- Avoiding routes of droplet spread (i.e., sneezing or coughing directly at someone)
Practice good infection control to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Good infection control is an important part of patient care. It helps to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses such as the flu, Norovirus, MRSA and others that can be transmitted through the air or by touch. Nurses must take precautions like hand hygiene and wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when appropriate to prevent these infections from spreading. They also must clean the environment regularly to keep it safe for patients and staff members alike.
In addition to practicing good hand hygiene every time you enter or leave a room where there is an infectious patient, here are several other ways you can practice good infection control:
- Wear respiratory protection if needed (e.g., N95 mask). This will help protect you from inhaling airborne particles from sick people in your facility who may be coughing or sneezing around you without covering their mouths/noses properly with tissues or sleeves/clothing.* Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds; dry thoroughly with disposable paper towels.* Do not wear jewelry on your hands while caring for patients.* Use personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, gowns/aprons/coveralls (wristbands only), masks–when appropriate according to CDC guidelines [link]
Hopefully, this post has helped you learn more about the importance of infection control and how to practice it. It’s important that nurses stay vigilant about their own personal hygiene, as well as the cleanliness of their environment. Infection control is an essential part of nursing practice and helps keep everyone safe!