Policies and Procedures: Hand Washing
Every healthcare institution has to follow certain policies and procedures in order to ensure best patient outcome. Nurses follow procedures on the floor that institutional policies are put into practice. It is necessary that the policies and procedures drafted must be something that is clear, can be measured and enforced that it helps practitioner to understand the importance and effectiveness of the policy (Ray, 2011) , In this paper, I would like to detail the basic but the most important hospital policy; hand washing.
In the united States, one every 136 patients visiting or admitted in ...view middle of the document...
Minimal hand washing with soap and water is used at places with minimum risk for infection while some sort of antiseptics is used where medium risk of infection exists. For surgical procedures where high risk of infections exists, major antiseptics are required for cleaning and hand hygiene.
As a child I remember going to school and eating everything that was offered to me without even looking into how safe it was. I have also witnessed my classmates having stomach ache, vomiting and getting infected with many diseases and hospitalized only because they would never wash their hands before eating or after using restrooms. I had no knowledge that time the importance of hygiene and how many of those problems could have been avoided just by washing hands! Later, when I became a nurse and started practicing on the floor, I realized how important it was. Even though hand washing is the most important aspect of care on the floor, often I am surprised at the negligence of many healthcare professional not following the procedure the way they should. When questioned, many of them have the explanation that they had not enough time. We often do not realize how a change of gloves or washing hands couple of times between care and during change of patients have saved millions in care and avoided prolonged hospitalization. I have also witnessed poor patient outcome and long time hospitalization of patients just because some nurses would not follow the procedure the way they should.
One day, I saw a nurse change dressings on a seriously infected patient, without washing hands or wearing gloves. I did not interrupt her during the procedure but once the dressing was finished, I took her to the nursing station and asked her whether he got any children. She told me that she had a four year and one year old. I asked her whether she would mind her kids get infected with some of the antibiotic resistant organisms. She stared at me. I explained to her what a serious breach of policy and harm to herself has been done just a few minutes before. If she goes home and follow the same rules at home, serving her kids without washing hands properly, she would be acting as a carrier taking all those lethal organisms home and distributing it to her children and family. It would also harm her personally and expose her to many of the unidentified diseases from the patients. She also harmed the patient who trusted her and visited the hospital with a hope of recovery. She regretted her action and I was glad to watch her following all he procedures to its minute details later.
We will be shocked while reading through the Center for Disease Control(CDC) report about the death toll of around ninety thousand (90,000) people every year due to hospital acquired or nosocomial infections (CDC, 2010). All throughout our nursing course and practical, we were thoroughly instructed about the importance of hand hygiene. We are also given to understand the various diseases and cross...