The Role Of Nurses In Infection Control

The Role Of Nurses In Infection Control

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The Role Of Nurses In Infection Control

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The Role Of Nurses In Infection Control

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Discuss about the Role of Nurses in Infection Control.

Infection control refers to the epidemiological practice of controlling and managing nosocomial or health care related infections argues Olans, Nicholas, Hanley, & DeMaria, (2015). The goal of infection control is to prevent spread of infectious disease in the health care institutions. Several agents used in infection control include antibiotics, antiprotozoal, antibacterial, antifungals and antivirals. Infection control is important in controlling infection among healthcare workers and other patients. The processes of infection control and prevention include cleaning, sterilizing, vaccination and monitoring of patients and the overall health control. This paper focuses on the role of nurses in infection control and prevention in a health care setting.
Nurses play a very vital role in infection control whose main work is prevention of hospital acquired infections. The nurses perform this role not only in the activities they engage in but also in educating the patient and conducting research to improve on the quality of services that help in ensuring a cleaner and a safer environment. The center for disease control and prevention has come up with several precautions at the work place that are important in ensuring an environment that is free from infectious disease organisms (Williams, & Hopper, 2015).
Hand hygiene is one of the practices that nurses perform and sensitize patients to perform in order to ensure an environment that is free from pathogens. Nurses always ensure that the hospital is well equipped with clean water for hand washing. The center for disease control and prevention has also established a relation between hand washing by nurses and the passing on of hospital acquired infections. Nurses in the hospital handle various patients who suffer from various disease conditions. It is therefore more likely for nurses to transmit various pathogens and disease causing organisms if they fail to maintain proper hygiene and hand sanitation. The dryness of the hands is also essential in ensuring that disease causing organisms are effectively eliminated from the hands (Herzig, et al 2016).
Sterilization is also another activity that nurses undertake in infection control. Sterilization refers to the processes that are intended to kill germs and other disease causing organisms to highest possible level. There are several ways of sterilizing which may include heat method, chemical methods and steam. Sterilization is used in preventing spread of bacteria especially in equipment in cleaning of medical equipment such as gloves. The main methods used nurses to sterilize medical equipment is autoclave which involves use of steam and dry heating since they are easy and readily available. Chemical sterilization is however utilized for equipment that can’t be sterilized usin the other means.
According to Brown, Edwards, Seaton, & Buckley, (2017) cleaning is also a measure of ensuring quality assurance. Cleaning in the healthcare system involves not only the patient’s hygiene but also the cleanliness of the hospital structures such as beds and surfaces to prevent commonly communicable diseases. Cleanliness helps to get rid of contaminated fluids and pathogens from various surfaces. Disinfection is also a measure of ensuring infection control. The nurses disinfect various surfaces and equipment and rooms. Disinfection is mainly used to disinfect rooms since it is not as effective as sterilization.
Mitchell, & Gardner, (2014) explains that nurses also wear protective equipment in their efforts to ensure infection control. Personal protective equipment clothing helps to protect the nurse against certain health risks such as blood or other body fluids from the patients. This provides a barrier to the physical contaminants. Measures by the center for disease control recommend that nurses clean and dispose harmful materials before leaving the work place. Protective clothing such as gloves also helps to avoid contaminating themselves and other patients.
The health care environment also contains various contaminants. According to Asadollahi, et al (2015) these contaminants pose a great risk to health care workers. It is therefore necessary that nurses are immunized and vaccinated against various diseases that may pose as risks to the health care workers. Some of the most infectious diseases that nurses are vaccinated against include hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis among other diseases. Nurses who work at the vct may also encounter interact with blood from infected people. The nurses are therefore supposed to take post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) drugs to prevent further infection (Olans, Olans, & DeMaria 2015). These may also be administered through an injection within hours of exposure to the virus.
Continuous testing and examining for various infections is also a routine practice for nurses in order to identify and deal with potential harm. The testing for infections is mainly in the blood stream, surgical tests, urinary tract and gastroenteritis among others. Isolation of patients with various diseases is also done as a routine practice for decreasing nosocomial infections. Isolation and quarantine are also practices that may also be employed to prevent nosocomial infections. Isolation and quarantine are used in different cases depending on the kind of infection and the causal agent. Quarantine is used for highly contagious diseases such as Ebola.
Quarantine is also used in cases where the infections are just suspected. Quarantine is used during the incubation period of a certain infection. These methods are used to control various disease epidemics. Outbreaks of diseases can also be dealt with in various ways. Investigations into various disease epidemics are also important in preventing the occurrence of similar epidemics. Training is also important in infection control is also important in that patients should be trained frequently and regularly in order to maintain high standards of hygiene and sanitation in order to prevent spread and infection of nosocomial infections (Ignatavicius, & Workman, (2015).
In conclusion, it is important to point out that infection control is important in control of nosocomial infections. There are various ways in which nurses can ensure infection control in the hospital care setting. Among these include hand washing and dryness which prevents spread of pathogens and bacteria from one place to another. Other infection control mechanisms include disinfection and sterilization, cleaning, vaccination and immunization, isolation and quarantine for various highly infectious diseases and post exposure prophylaxis which is a type of precaution for contact of health workers with blood contaminated with HIV/AIDS virus
Olans, R. N., Olans, R. D., & DeMaria Jr, A. (2015). The critical role of the staff nurse in antimicrobial stewardship—unrecognized, but already there. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 62(1), 84-89.
Olans, R. D., Nicholas, P. K., Hanley, D., & DeMaria, A. (2015). Defining a role for nursing education in staff nurse participation in antimicrobial stewardship. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 46(7), 318-321.
Brown, D., Edwards, H., Seaton, L., & Buckley, T. (2017). Lewis’s Medical-Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Asadollahi, M., Bostanabad, M. A., Jebraili, M., Mahallei, M., Rasooli, A. S., & Abdolalipour, M. (2015). Nurses’ knowledge regarding hand hygiene and its individual and organizational predictors. Journal of caring sciences, 4(1), 45.
Herzig, C. T., Stone, P. W., Castle, N., Pogorzelska-Maziarz, M., Larson, E. L., & Dick, A. W. (2016). Infection prevention and control programs in US nursing homes: results of a national survey. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 17(1), 85-88.
Williams, L. S., & Hopper, P. D. (2015). Understanding medical surgical nursing. FA Davis.
Mitchell, B. G., & Gardner, A. (2014). Addressing the need for an infection prevention and control framework that incorporates the role of surveillance: a discussion paper. Journal of advanced nursing, 70(3), 533-542.
Ignatavicius, D. D., & Workman, M. L. (2015). Medical-Surgical Nursing-E-Book: Patient-Centered Collaborative Care. Elsevier Health Sciences.

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