Patients are told to ask nurses: have you washed? - page 5

Patients are told to ask nurses: have you washed? By Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor (Filed: 16/05/2004) Nurses are to suffer the ultimate indignity of having their personal hygiene... Read More

  1. by   maddiecat
    Quote from stevielynn
    Me too . . . no rings at work. No official policy against rings though.

    steph
    I can't even imagine what must be lurking under the stone in my ring. I really need to get them cleaned! I don't wear any to work. It's easier for me not to worry about them.
  2. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from maddiecat
    I can't even imagine what must be lurking under the stone in my ring. I really need to get them cleaned! I don't wear any to work. It's easier for me not to worry about them.
    I know, scary huh?

    steph
  3. by   bukko
    Because this seems to be an Aussie issue (but the OP originated in England?) I wonder about some cross-cultural issues.

    Do you think hospitals in Australia would be more likely to do this button thing than hospitals in the US? I haven't worked for any that did in 12 years. But in America, it's all about marketing. I can forsee the day when we have ID badges "sponsored by" some drug company that has an advertisement along the bottom. "Ask this nurse if she washed her hands with KLENZO KLEENER!!!!"

    Are patients pushy in Australia? I can't imagine most Americans asking anything like that, even if we were wearing buttons. It would be considered too rude. People here get rude, but usually about other things. Maybe they're more in-yer-face Down Under.

    Who do you think makes more people sick: nurses who don't wash their hands or restaurant workers? Oh -- add doctors into that poll!
  4. by   Farkinott
    Quote from bukko
    Because this seems to be an Aussie issue (but the OP originated in England?) I wonder about some cross-cultural issues.

    Do you think hospitals in Australia would be more likely to do this button thing than hospitals in the US? I haven't worked for any that did in 12 years. But in America, it's all about marketing. I can forsee the day when we have ID badges "sponsored by" some drug company that has an advertisement along the bottom. "Ask this nurse if she washed her hands with KLENZO KLEENER!!!!"

    Are patients pushy in Australia? I can't imagine most Americans asking anything like that, even if we were wearing buttons. It would be considered too rude. People here get rude, but usually about other things. Maybe they're more in-yer-face Down Under.

    Who do you think makes more people sick: nurses who don't wash their hands or restaurant workers? Oh -- add doctors into that poll!
    If we include the politics of the USA in our forums, or indeed this thread, it will lose some of it's freedom as it has "lost" it's ability to be tangible to those that are surfing the site purely because they want information about nursing issues or, are seeking help and advice.

    Please feel free to start your own thread in the correct category.

    Sincerely yours,
    Farkinott
  5. by   missmercy
    Ok, can I ask a stupid question ( I already know the answer to that one!! I am gifted in the stupid question department some days!!!) Anyhoo --- How is adking about Aussie patients politics? Isn't more a cultural question? Aren't cultural issues integral to good nursing care? Does it hurt anything to find out what different perceptions there are out there: whether r/t wearing "FLAIR" or hand washing or uniforms or what ever.... I guess I just missed the political overtones in that post and didn't get what you were objectiong to.
  6. by   Q.
    Quote from DOCS RN
    I think it is management that has a problem. Any nurse who would wear such a badge and not feel insulted has a problem. I am a professional, my JOB is to teach health practices. I can't teach if you (the patient) are too busy asking if I practice what I preach.....think about it.
    I don't think I have "a problem" if I don't feel insulted; I am not above patients taking some amount of responsibility for their care. And sure, it's a management issue in that infection rates are incredibily high and thus a JCAHO focus lately; it's one of the 7 Patient Safety Goals.
    From JCAHO:
    Despite the small number of infection-related sentinel event cases reported to the Joint Commission, the number of patients acquiring infections in the health care setting, as well as the number of patient deaths due to an acquired infection, remains high. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year nearly two million patients in the United States get an infection in hospitals, and about 90,000 of these patients die as a result of their infection. Infections are also a complication of care in other settings including long term care facilities, clinics and dialysis centers.
    www.jcaho.org
    This isn't about my ego. This is about the patients.
  7. by   mattsmom81
    Surgical suites are a sterile environment. I cannot maintain a sterile environment in the general hospital ward.

    My ICU: Too many people in and out, bringing and tracking things in and out (on carpet). No doubt there are bugs everywhere. We used to routinely culture surfaces...haven't been allowed to do that in years. Visitors in an out everywhere, few controls are allowed anymore. Grandchildren coughing all over grandma...but its a nosocomial infection and the nurses are to blame. <sigh>

    The idea that if someone gets an infection a nurse obviously did something wrong is ludicrous, IMO. Long term care patients become human petri dishes but it doesn't mean a nurse did something to cause that. Again, nurses make easy scapegoats for a system that will not be honest and take responsibility.

    We do the best we can. I am tired of getting a finger pointed at me. It costs too much money, effort and public goodwill for facilities to return to the more sterile environments of the past, so they will come up with these silly button schemes and continue to make nurses responsible for what they will not/cannot do.

    As I said before, my nurse coworkers hands are frequently a mess from overwashing and disinfecting with chemicals. We are developing latex sensitivities from the gloving we do all day. Infection control is a much larger problem than this, and this is why I personally will never wear a button saying "ask me if I've washed'.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    So then do surveyors wear these stupid buttons too?

    I somehow think not.

    I am not interested in stupid slogans, buttons, etc. I KNOW my job. I know to wash my hands. Those who do not, need to be disciplined and dismissed if they persist. But I will not hold my breath, esp. where physicians are concerned.

    It's not about my ego, but I have the right to DIGNITY in performing my duties. It IS about nurses, too.
  9. by   LBaker517
    I think it's great that someone came up with the idea of promoting handwashing.
    Too many nurses become lax and tend to not be as stringent with handwashing as they may have been while in school. I know I would probably tend to slack off after a few years......I think it would be only natural. When you're given a reason to be kept on your toes about PT care, you're forced to remember about how important it is to do something so simple.
    I wouldn't say I'd be thrilled about having posters up and all, but I wouldn't take offense if I had Patients asking if I washed my hands...................
    Seriously....go to a restroom and count how many people (especially men)wash their hands WITH SOAP afer using it.............................it'll be a scary wake up call.
  10. by   mattsmom81
    Quote from LBaker517
    I think it's great that someone came up with the idea of promoting handwashing.
    Too many nurses become lax and tend to not be as stringent with handwashing as they may have been while in school. I know I would probably tend to slack off after a few years......I think it would be only natural. When you're given a reason to be kept on your toes about PT care, you're forced to remember about how important it is to do something so simple.
    I wouldn't say I'd be thrilled about having posters up and all, but I wouldn't take offense if I had Patients asking if I washed my hands...................
    Seriously....go to a restroom and count how many people (especially men)wash their hands WITH SOAP afer using it.............................it'll be a scary wake up call.

    You will do well grasshopper...you definitely have learned how to talk the talk of the nurse administrator.
  11. by   VioletEyes
    What about cleaning the heads on stethescopes between patients? What do you think about going into a room and listening to abdominal surgeries with them, then going to the next room without any disinfectant? Is it any worse than not washing your hands?
  12. by   bukko
    Quote from VioletEyes
    What about cleaning the heads on stethescopes between patients? What do you think about going into a room and listening to abdominal surgeries with them, then going to the next room without any disinfectant? Is it any worse than not washing your hands?
    I wipe the head of my stethy with an alcohol pad several times a shift. (And the ear pieces too, but with a different pad.) I also have a strong motivation to wash my hands frequently because every time I touch a patient, I feel somewhat dirtied from that. I mean, my hands touched them, and then I might touch my face or some food with those mitts? Eeeew! (And no, I am not phobic...)

    On a related note, what about the implications of using the same BP cuff from patient to patient to patient?
  13. by   Q.
    All those things mentioned (the stethoscope and BP cuff) are also infection control issues that contribute to the high infection rates in hospitals. Most hospitals I've worked at have disposable cuffs and I've always wiped down my stethoscope with alcohol b/t patients. But these are still separate issues from the handwashing.

    If infection rates were low, I'd be inclined to agree with many of you who are against this campaign. But with infections being SO HIGH, clearly something needs to be done! Assuming nurses "know their job" just hasn't been enough, obviously.

    Deb, I don't see it as losing my dignity at work. Yes, I am a nurse but my patients have the right to the best care possible. If that includes, in light of the high hospital infection rates, reminder to ask health care providers if they've washed their hands, then so be it. My only complaint with this campaign is it singles out nurses and does not include all patient care staff.

    When my mom was getting chemo, she used to ask the RN if it was her medication and not someone else's. She would make the RN check the label right in front of her. She was afraid of a medication error. None of the RNs felt devalued and reassured her. Should patients just passively assume that the nurses "know their job" and take risks like that? I don't plan on doing that as a patient. No way, no how.

    And why should JCAHO surveyors wear the buttons? Are they employees of the hospital? No. Are they providing care to the patients? No. I'm not sure why that question was asked.

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