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Understanding Nursing Procedure # 2: Hygiene Procedures

Many people visit hospitals in the anticipation of getting better, but some might contract infections that actually make them worse. An extremely important aspect of good nursing is following the proper health protocols and hygiene procedures that keep you and your patients safe.

Basic Hygiene Procedures

No matter where you put your nursing degree to use, there will be a few very basic hygiene procedures that must be followed. These are universal in the health care field, with no exceptions.

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid contact with bodily fluids.
  • Wear gloves for safety.
  • Cover wounds with the appropriate bandages.

Advances Since Nursing School

Nurses must keep abreast of new and improved hygiene procedures. What you learned in nursing school could quickly become outdated, and new protocols may be required. But some tips should always remain the same:

  • Only very basic jewelry is permitted, and sometimes none at all, depending upon where you work.
  • Wear short sleeves to prevent passive contamination.
  • Keep nails cut short, clean, and unpainted.
  • Follow hand washing with alcohol disinfectant gel.
  • Practice the "cuff glove" technique to ensure your gloves remain sterile.
  • When using soap, shampoo, and the like, always open a fresh supply for each use.
  • Do not recap a used needle--place it directly in the sharps container.
  • When unwrapping tubing and other sterile essentials, ensure the connecting ends do not touch the patient, the bed, or any other surface that is not sterile.
  • Watch for skin breakdown in patients who are bedridden. The key to preventing complications is catching the irritation before it can become a lesion. Wash and dry the area, apply appropriate lotion, and try to prevent the patient from lying on the irritated spot.
  • Don't forget oral health. Help your patient brush their teeth and provide water to keep their mouth moist.
  • If you are using drainage tubing, keep it below the patient at all times.
  • If the sterile item is ever out of your sight, consider it contaminated.
  • When you open a package, remove the top completely, and avoid leaning over the contents.
  • If you have even the smallest sniffle, wear a mask to prevent spreading illness.

Hygiene Procedures Keep Nursing Safe

The more you know about hygiene procedures, the healthier you and your patients should be. When you spot hygiene procedure not being followed, stop the offender immediately and clue them into the proper method. Nursing is about looking out for people, and that includes taking care of each other with the best hygiene procedures.

 

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