Scrubs and Infection Control

  1. I've noticed so many nurses/techs/PT/RT that come and go from the hospital in their scrubs for the day. With all the super bugs going around I was wondering what people thought about this. Granted, this is the case in hospitals where the hospital no longer provides scrubs for employees once arriving to work. Some areas where I work (Surgery and L/D) still provide employees for scrubs.

    Technically, you don't want to bring bugs into the hospital and you don't want to take what is in the hospital, to your home/public places. I've heard of employees taking c-diff home to their families which I would imagine is ever so joyful for them.

    I personally wear different clothes to work, change into my scrubs at work, and then shower/change clothes again at the end of my shift. This may be a little over the top but I figure it leans towards best practice and common courtesy for patients. I work on a unit where many of the patients are immunocompromised. Any thoughts?
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    About nick7331, BSN

    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 43; Likes: 2


  3. by   czyja
    This is an interesting topic. And I suspect we will hear more about it in the future.

    In the UK they are very serious about infection control. Nurses do not wear their uniform outside of the hospital. I am told they do not even wear them to the cafeteria. An English nurse assured me that if she wants to go to the cafeteria she is required to change into her street clothes. Morover, nothing except a single wedding band may be worn below the elbow. No watches. No jackets. Physicians do not wear white coats in wards. Sleeves must be rolled up to the elbow. It seems a rational system to me and I would welcome it here in the US.

    I especially find white coats to be disgusting. One need look no furhter to see how C-diff is spread....
  4. by   Purple_Scrubs
    I think the bugs at Walmart are just as bad as those at the hospital (and probably as numerous) and most people don't rush home and shower after grocery shopping. Universal Precautions, good handwashing, common sense, and a little luck is all you need.
    Last edit by Purple_Scrubs on Feb 16, '12 : Reason: clarification
  5. by   tokmom
    With all the years of doing this job, I have never acquired anything or brought it home. I use PPE, precautions and a lot of handwashing.
    When I get sick, it's from my kid bringing something home from school or off shopping carts..public places, etc..
  6. by   michigansapphire
    On my unit, it would be tough to change in and out of scrubs. We have a mixed-gender locker/break room and our lockers are only about one cubic foot (so, not big enough to store both your bag and your street clothes). I suppose people could change in the restroom, but there are only two restrooms for the whole floor, one of those is for visitors, and both are only for one user at a time.
  7. by   VOK1
    It is the nature of the beast. You are in healthcare. I have been nursing for 25 years and have yet to take something home to my family. As far as the C Diff you mentioned, if the patient was in isolation then isolation protocol was not followed by this nurse. If they are dressed out properly, this would not happen. If it is a patient not in isolation, then they should be. If unknown at admit, universal protocol of good handwashing with warm soap and water is necessary. Handwashing can solve alot of problems. If they were knowingly taking care of a patient with C Diff and not following protocol then they probably spread it to other patients as well as taking it home. C Diff can live for months. That is why the rooms are double cleaned with bleach after discharge or transfer.
  8. by   lub dub
    There was a hospital near me a few years ago that had an increase in post-op CABG infections. The source was eventually found to be a surgeon who was bringing dog germs from home into the O.R. on his scrubs. That's what happens when you don't change into scrubs at the hospital.