Wearing Gloves When Taking Vital Signs?

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    I was wondering what is considered the norm in different people's ERs when taking vital signs about whether nurses/techs wear gloves. Whenever I have been to the ER the person who does my vitals on admission never wears gloves but several times when the techs have come in to take my vitals (no body fluids expsoure possible) they have put on gloves. As you would expect, at the doctors office they don't wear gloves either for taking vitals. When I have asked why they need to wear gloves to take my BP the responses I have received are "I don't know why you are here, so it is a standard measure" and "You don't know what I might have" (meaning the tech)-if I have to worry about catching something from the tech, she shouldn't be working. I understand the role of PPE and am all for it but I also was taught that a basic exam you don't need gloves that it is good for the patient to have human touch without a gloves barrier.
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  3. 24 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    I will generally wear gloves to get vital signs. Sorry if that offends you, but MY safety will always come first. There has been too many times where a pt. "seems" to be ok, then we find out they're MRSA + or C. Diff +. Just better safe than sorry...
    matchsticktgt and mmutk like this.
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    I don't think someone who is rolling into the ER is going to be too upset about not getting their 'human touch' when they've got a bigger complaint to deal with.
    I always wear gloves when I touch my patients. They may not have VISIBLE body fluid on them, but the possibility is there.
    mmutk and Altra like this.
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    You might not have visible body fluids and they might not have intact skin on their hands. All sorts of reasons why one might choose to wear gloves to grab a BP.
    mmutk and Altra like this.
  7. 1
    The fact is, we deal with a lot of unkept/dirty humans in the ER. I can't tell you how many times I have to tell patients to stop touching their laceration that is oozing blood or their abscess that is draining MRSA all over the bed. You never know what you are touching. Unlike a visit to the doctors office, most people don't jump in the shower before coming to the ER. They have been sweating and vomiting for twelve hours or they've seized and soiled themselves, or they are 90 years old and live by themselves and have not bathed since last week. The point is, I'm not worried about offending people by wearing gloves. I'm here to protect the patients as well as myself.
    mmutk likes this.
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    I wear gloves for all patient contact, feel kind of naked without them. In fact, if I'm running in a room for something emergent I still grab them out of habit and can put them on in a milisecond. You just never know what a person has. And I don't really care if it offends them because it would offend me if they questioned my motive to protect myself and other patients. I've had patients joke about how many I go through but never offended that I use them. Most of my patients are too sick to care though.
    And another reason I wear them is I might just be going in there to get a bp, but inevitably they want me to look at this, feel that, empty this urinal/bedpan/colostomy or warrant further assessment for other reasons. Never fails.
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    Hmmm, just to play the devil's advocate, these same people who may have MRSA or C.Diff are also shopping in your grocery store, refilling their soda at the fountain at McDonalds, or just used the ATM ahead of you. Do your wear PPM in those cases as well?
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    i never wear gloves to take vitals unless it's with a new patient, or in an emergency and there's fluids that i may come in contact with (and of course with known active infections like mrsa, c-diff, etc). i do work in long term care, though, and that's a totally different setting...
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    Gloves would certainly come in handy If you had a rectal temp to take. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother unless I was coming on some bloody scene, which you will be.
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    i must say i was curious when i saw this thread as to what people thought. as a patient i haven't been to the er in sometime but i did go to an urgent care facility last week and it was probably a medical assistant and not a nurse that took my vitals but she did it without gloves and as i was sitting there i thought it kind of unusual. after she left it went through my mind... who else has she touched without gloves and if she doesn't wear gloves is she careful to wash her hands? probably not! then she came back into the room to do a monospot and tried to prick my finger without gloves at that point i kindly asked her to out them on.

    as a patient and as someone considering nursing as a career i think you should always were gloves when having contact with a patient especially in an emergency situation!!! why would you want to catch or transfer something that could have been easily prevented by simply putting on gloves.
    Last edit by *Olivia* on Aug 5, '09


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