Another recent topic got me thinking about all the things we are exposed to almost everyday and sometimes without knowing.
Have you ever worked in the ER and later taken another patient to the ICU or med surg to find another patient you spent most of the shift with in isolation with every type of isol sign attached to their door?
Ever think about all the patients which go into isolation on the floors/units after their cultures come back which you may have taken care of for hours in another unit like the ER? I know my scrubs either stay at the hospital or go home in a plastic bags. Shoes never go home once they have touched the hospital floor even in NICU.
Ever sit in front of a patient with Nitric Oxide running all shift?
Or, Ribavirin which used to be ran in ward type areas in the 80s and early 90s with many kids on it at one time. Nurses and an RT were sentenced to stay in that room for the entire shift.
Ever have a CPAP/BIPAP machine or Non rebreather mask running in the ER or whatever unit and later find out that patient is positive for a nasty strain of flu, rare respiratory infection yet to be named or TB?
How many medicine nebulizers have you worked around within a couple feet?
How many times have you taken the clothes off patients with "dust" on them and later find out (maybe) it was some toxic chemical or something which was not that good for you to breathe into your lungs while removing the clothes?
Do you keep a mask nearby for dusty clothing and patients who come in with "consumption cough"?
If you have survived many years in a health care profession without contracting anything on the job, do you ever think "Damn I am lucky" or "Just damn good at looking out for number 1"?