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Personal Health Promotion, Research Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 622

Research Paper

One of the most effective ways to protect patients from infection is also one of the most simple to execute:  practicing personal cleanliness.  As Hill and Howlett (2009) point out, when nurses clean their hands with an alcohol-based solution between patients the opportunity for spreading dangerous viruses such as MRSA is substantially reduced.  Good hand hygiene also calls for nurses and other personnel to pay attention to the germs and dirt which they may carry under their fingernails, especially in the case of overly long natural nails or artificial nails.  Hill and Howlett (2009) suggest that it may be safer for patients and more hygienic overall for nurses to refrain from having long nails, especially since they present a risk for glove-puncturing and are more difficult to clean than unpolished short fingernails.

Nurses also have the opportunity to protect their patients from infection by educating hospital visitors about safe hygiene practices.  Although a patient’s family members and friends may be eager to visit the patient, it is important that nurses guard their patient’s safety above all else.  This may include instructing visitors about hand hygiene and instructing family members to avoid visiting the hospital if they are sick (WHO, 1998).  Nurses should also ensure that disposable gowns, masks, and slippers are available for those who visit those vulnerable patients who already have a low resistance to infection.  While it is not always possible to monitor all visitors on a ward at all times, nurses should do their best to remain aware of who is coming and going from a patient’s room; as well, posted signs regarding hygiene requirements can assist in informing all visitors of the necessary precautions for preventing the spread of infection.  A professional, respectful, and helpful demeanor can allow nurses to effectively inform visitors of the rules while also explaining why they are necessary, ensuring a higher likelihood of cooperation and thus greater safety for the patient (WHO, 1998).

Patients with central lines present a special concern when it comes to the spread of infection as they are at an increased risk of developing bloodstream infections if the central line or the area surrounding is exposed to dirt or germs (CDC, 2011).  Nurses can help to ensure the safety of these patients by using standard precautions when attending to the patient, such as using good hand hygiene and ensuring that all equipment is clean and sterilized.  The CDC (2011) also recommends that nurses working with patients who have a central line remain aware of the length of time that the central line is used and avoid leaving it in for an unnecessarily long time; this requires nurses to exercise their ability to act as advocates for their patients and to communicate with all members of the health care team.  Additionally, nurses can help to protect their patients by speaking up if they see another member of the health care team practicing unsafe or unsanitary methods while attending to a patient with a central line.  This doesn’t have to be a punitive or confrontational experience, but rather presents the opportunity for nurses to support their patients while educating all members of the health care team and any hospital visitors.  Hill and Howlett (2009) suggest that health care workers are more likely to practice good hygiene when they see their colleagues doing the same, illustrating that nurses have the power to influence those around them and ensure the safety of their patients.

References

CDC. (2011). Protecting patients with central lines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Vitalsigns/HAI/

Hill, S.S. & Howlett, H.S. (2009). Success in practical/vocational nursing: From student to leader (6th ed). St Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier.

WHO Regional Office. (1998). Protect the patient from infection. Nursing care of the sick. Retrieved from http://www.wpro.who.int/internet/files/pub/85/49b-64.pdf

 

 

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