Help....How do you Protect yourself?

  1. 1) What are some of the dangers of being a nurse?

    2) Now....what precautions do nurses take to "protect themselves" from these types of problems...

    3) are some areas of nursing more dangerous than others? (if so....how does one prepare).



    This is a serious topic...and we are all greatly concerned.

    Experienced input from the experienced pros is greatly appreciated!
    Last edit by TonyFl on Dec 2, '07
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   Kelly_the_Great
    Use standard and transmission based precautions.

    Standard precautions used with all patients. Transmission based precautions used with patients based upon symptoms ~ don't wait for confirmation (i.e. sputum/wound cultures, lab results, etc.) prior to instituting appropriate protective measures ~ it'll be too late for you and the other patients you are serving to do any good.

    Here's a short read about precautions
    Last edit by Kelly_the_Great on Dec 2, '07
  4. by   rn-jane
    I follow the universal precautions for everybody. If i suspect a health hazard, i notify infection control immediately and get the proper information. Alot of nurses on my floor when a patient is on precautions will sometimes forgo the gown, mask, whatever if they feel they won't be needing them. I follow all the regulations just in case. For example we have a patient with new tb, probable aids and the nurses weren't garbing. I was thinking "are you crazy" I don't want to be bringing something like this home to my kids. Sometimes with certain patients i also double gloved, granted if i get stuck then it would not matter how many gloves i have on but if i have a crack in my skin then i am a little better protected. I also make sure i pass all information to the nurses taking care of these patients in report.
  5. by   tddowney
    Quote from TonyFl
    1) What are some of the dangers of being a nurse?

    2) Now....what precautions do nurses take to "protect themselves" from these types of problems...

    3) are some areas of nursing more dangerous than others? (if so....how does one prepare).



    This is a serious topic...and we are all greatly concerned.

    Experienced input from the experienced pros is greatly appreciated!
    What do you mean by "dangerous?"

    Physical, emotional, financial?

    Like any profession, nursing has exposures to each of these.
  6. by   Altra
    Quote from rn-jane
    For example we have a patient with new tb, probable aids and the nurses weren't garbing.
    A TB patient without droplet precautions and a private room with negative airflow is foolish and warrants an immediate call to Infection Control and Risk Management. (I'd be amazed if this wasn't triggered immediately upon dx)

    HIV, however, is just standard precautions unless there is some other acute infection.
  7. by   Altra
    TonyFL, this a pertinent question. During your nursing education you will learn about different types of precautions and in what patient scenarios they are appropriate. Policies do also vary somewhat from facility to facility.

    You will learn to wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. And, after taking microbiology, you will also learn that you are theoretically at risk in your home, in your backyard, at the mall, and at the grocery store. Common sense and a healthy immune system go a long way, or we homo sapiens would have perished a long time ago.
  8. by   TonyFl
    I meant physical dangers....

    Quote from tddowney
    What do you mean by "dangerous?"

    Physical, emotional, financial?

    Like any profession, nursing has exposures to each of these.
  9. by   flightnurse2b
    Quote from TonyFl
    I meant physical dangers....
    it's true that the nursing profession does come with alot of occupational hazards.. but like MLOS said, the hazards are everywhere. atleast most of the time when you are on the floor or whatnot, your patient will be most likely be isolated for MRSA, TB, VRE or whatever. you will usually know if the patient has Syphillis or HIV. when you are at the check out line at walmart you dont know what the person behind you coughing has or who has handled the food at McD's and if they washed their hands after they went to the bathroom. wash your hands, wear gloves during pt contact, always use the correct precautions for the patient you are dealing with (airborne, droplet, contact, etc)....take good care of yourself and your body will do the rest. thats all any of us can do.
  10. by   TonyFl
    Hmmm....maybe i'm just being a little paranoid. A friend of mine mentioned this to me as i'm a pre-nursing student...and was Concerned. (sigh).


    Quote from allison2008
    it's true that the nursing profession does come with alot of occupational hazards.. but like MLOS said, the hazards are everywhere. atleast most of the time when you are on the floor or whatnot, your patient will be most likely be isolated for MRSA, TB, VRE or whatever. you will usually know if the patient has Syphillis or HIV. when you are at the check out line at walmart you dont know what the person behind you coughing has or who has handled the food at McD's and if they washed their hands after they went to the bathroom. wash your hands, wear gloves during pt contact, always use the correct precautions for the patient you are dealing with (airborne, droplet, contact, etc)....take good care of yourself and your body will do the rest. thats all any of us can do.
  11. by   traumaRUs
    Hi Tony - good question. I worked for 10 years in an inner city level one trauma center (read: knife and gun club). We had gang violence, weapons in the ER, assaults on staff, etc.. However, we minimized these (notice I didn't say eliminate) incidents with lots of planning, good assessment skills for dangerous situations and liberal use of restraints both chemical and physical.

    It something to be aware of, but not be consumed with.
  12. by   caliotter3
    One of the best things you can do to protect yourself, your license, and your livelihood is to purchase malpractice insurance and keep it current.

    As for physical threats in the workplace, I work in home health, an area where there is a potential threat. Good agencies will not take on a case where the management suspects something strange from the beginning or they will discharge a patient when incidents start to occur. I've suffered more than my share of grief from this area and my employers have done jack zilch about it. You have to be ready to make the change when your employer proves to you that you are worth nothing to them in the long run. As for protecting myself, I've learned that I am on my own in this matter. I also do not rely on law enforcement. Even if they were helpful, they can not always respond in a timely manner. You have to take care of yourself.
  13. by   TonyFl
    Hi Cailotter....what did you mean by physical violence in a Home Health situation???

    Can you give us an example....

    Quote from caliotter3
    One of the best things you can do to protect yourself, your license, and your livelihood is to purchase malpractice insurance and keep it current.

    As for physical threats in the workplace, I work in home health, an area where there is a potential threat. Good agencies will not take on a case where the management suspects something strange from the beginning or they will discharge a patient when incidents start to occur. I've suffered more than my share of grief from this area and my employers have done jack zilch about it. You have to be ready to make the change when your employer proves to you that you are worth nothing to them in the long run. As for protecting myself, I've learned that I am on my own in this matter. I also do not rely on law enforcement. Even if they were helpful, they can not always respond in a timely manner. You have to take care of yourself.
  14. by   I love my cat!
    Another physical warning: Always have enough people to lift/move/transfer a patient properly and safely!
    You would not believe the number of times I have heard about staff trying to "save time" by moving a patient without adequate assistance and as a result, become injured. It's far better to have to wait 5-10 minutes for help then injure your knees and/or back (and risk injury to the patient, as well). Your minutes 'saved' could result in a serious injury/pain and weeks/months/years of lost work or work with limitations.
    I also agree to purchase Disability Insurance. Do not rely on your facility to back you up.

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