HCPs, Clean Your Hands Please!

24 05 2016

It’s hard to believe the number of posters, lectures, threats, and gimmicks that are produced each year just to get healthcare professionals to clean their hands.

Why, oh why won’t caring nurses, doctors, physical therapists, and others who tend to our medical care clean their hands as often as they should?

We know there are some who prevent infections by keeping their hands clean throughout the day. Thank you for that. This discussion isn’t about your habits, but the poor habits of some of your colleagues.

Common excuses for not cleaning hands are no time, no sinks around when you need them, patient care is more important than hand hygiene, can’t find soap and/or paper towels, simply forgot, or don’t agree with the recommendations.

CDC says that “Studies show that some healthcare providers practice hand hygiene less than half of the times they should. Healthcare providers might need to clean their hands as many as 100 times per 12-hour shift, depending on the number of patients and intensity of care.”

That breaks down to cleaning your hands eight times an hour on average, or once every 7.5 minutes. Of course, that number varies depending on your duties during a shift.

No matter what the precise number, we can all agree that healthcare professionals need to clean their hands a lot while at work.

On the one hand, it seems that such repetition would form strong habits. But on the other hand, if repetition isn’t there, if hands aren’t cleaned every single time a patient’s room is entered and every single time one is finished with a patient, habits won’t be acquired.

Acquire the habit. Please.

provider-infographic-2-know-how-germs-spread

 

 

 

by Trish Parnell





Healthcare Professionals: Thanks for Vaccinating Yourselves!

3 12 2012

nurseI like nurses and doctors and technicians and assistants and all the folks who, one way or another, try to keep me healthy.

That needed to be said because, in a second, it’s going to seem like I don’t much care for them.

Every year, a few healthcare professionals complain when the order comes down to get a flu shot or wear a mask when seeing patients.

They don’t wanna. Not only don’t they wanna, but their excuses sound, well, uninformed is the most polite way I can think of to say it.

The vaccine isn’t necessary.
The masks scare people.
Nobody can tell them what to do.
The vaccine doesn’t prevent flu.
The vaccine is more dangerous than the flu.
The masks are stuffy.
They don’t wanna.

Kids are required to get certain vaccines to attend public school, and if they don’t, they can’t attend.

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of six months get an annual flu shot.

You can’t get influenza from the flu shot.

It’s puzzling to know what to say to people who are supposed to be more educated than you are about disease prevention.

Granted, there are people at work or shopping in the grocery store who didn’t get the flu shot. They are therefore at risk of getting influenza and passing it on to those who couldn’t get the shot. But, the risk we have to take out here in the big old world isn’t the same as the risk we should be expected to encounter in a healthcare setting.

I say yahoo for the hospitals and clinics holding firm on this issue. To the few in healthcare who skipped the classes on disease prevention: follow the science and provide the minimum standard of care by getting vaccinated or wearing a mask around patients.

Please.

By Trish Parnell

Image courtesy of Lower Columbia College (whose students and staff are all vaccinated, as far as I know)