Safety is an important issue for frontline workers like physicians, nurses and other health care professionals, who face the greatest risk of infectious disease. In addition, infected health care workers can be a source of disease transmission to patients, family members, and other staff. This is why personal protective equipment is especially important for physicians and nurses.
What is Personal Protective Equipment?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is clothing or equipment specifically designed to protect nurses from potentially infectious diseases. It creates a protective barrier between the individual and a contaminated object or body. It also prevents direct contact with blood or body fluids.
Common PPE equipment includes: isolation gown, protective gowns, gloves, face masks, etc.
The Importance of PPE For Nurses
A study published in the Journal of Medicine showed that nurses spend about one-third of their time in direct patient care, compared to 14 percent spent by physicians. This data suggests that the average nurse spends more than twice as much time in close contact with patients as the average physician, increasing the likelihood of infection or transmission of infection. This underscores the need for appropriate PPE options, especially for use by nurses.
It is necessary and expected for nurses to use PPE even when with patients or in environments that are not considered infectious or contaminated because information about a patient’s infection status may not be readily available or accessible.
PPE requirements in the healthcare field are based on the risk of exposure and possible modes of transmission. the protection provided by PPE also varies depending on the type or amount of equipment used. For droplet precautions, health care workers should use personal protective equipment such as surgical masks and face shields for eye protection. In addition, long-sleeved waterproof gowns and gloves are recommended for contact precautions.
How to Put on and Take off PPE
The process of putting on (putting on) and taking off (taking off) PPE is important to protect healthcare workers from infection, especially during the step of handling used PPE.
First, wash your hands and make sure you have the proper PPE. Then perform the following PPE steps as directed by the CDC.
Put on a gown or other protective clothing.
Put on a surgical mask or respirator.
Wear a face shield to protect your eyes.
Put on protective gloves.
When removing PPE, the correct sequence is as follows.
Remove gloves first and disinfect hands after removal.
Remove gown or other protective clothing.
Take off face shield.
Remove surgical mask or respirator.
Disinfect hands again.
Nurses should be well versed in PPE best practices and use. Adherence to PPE equipment and procedures ensures that nurses can protect themselves, their families, and their patients.
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