I'm supposed to wear an "Ask me if I washed my hands!" button?!

Posted

Today, administrators launched a handwashing campaign, part of which includes having patient care staff wear giant buttons that say, "Ask me if I washed my hands!" Patients are encouraged to ask this of their nurse/CNA/etc. every time s/he walks into their room. Every time.

I find this incredibly insulting both to my intelligence and to my professional practice as an RN. I cannot imagine what patients must be thinking: does it imply that we don't know enough to wash our hands? What else do they need to be checking up on, if we can't be trusted to have washed our hands after patient contact?

I understand that the aim is to decrease the spread of microorganisms. We all learned that in Nursing Fundamentals. I've listened to all the inservices on handwashing, antimicrobial foam and gel, and standard precautions ad nauseum. But this is way over the top. I don't ask my mechanic if he remembered to put all the parts back in my car and I don't ask my accountant if she used a calculator to figure out my taxes. I don't think I should be asked over and over if I'm doing my job, either.

We've had a hard enough time trying to be recognized as professionals without this nonsense. If I wanted to wear giant silly buttons at work I'd be waiting tables at TGI Fridays.

I told one of the administrators I'd consider wearing one if all the docs had to wear them, too. It's been a long time since I've seen some of them lather up before performing a bare-handed dressing change.

Today, administrators launched a handwashing campaign, part of which includes having patient care staff wear giant buttons that say, "Ask me if I washed my hands!" Patients are encouraged to ask this of their nurse/CNA/etc. every time s/he walks into their room. Every time.

I find this incredibly insulting both to my intelligence and to my professional practice as an RN. I cannot imagine what patients must be thinking: does it imply that we don't know enough to wash our hands? What else do they need to be checking up on, if we can't be trusted to have washed our hands after patient contact?

I understand that the aim is to decrease the spread of microorganisms. We all learned that in Nursing Fundamentals. I've listened to all the inservices on handwashing, antimicrobial foam and gel, and standard precautions ad nauseum. But this is way over the top. I don't ask my mechanic if he remembered to put all the parts back in my car and I don't ask my accountant if she used a calculator to figure out my taxes. I don't think I should be asked over and over if I'm doing my job, either.

We've had a hard enough time trying to be recognized as professionals without this nonsense. If I wanted to wear giant silly buttons at work I'd be waiting tables at TGI Fridays.

I told one of the administrators I'd consider wearing one if all the docs had to wear them, too. It's been a long time since I've seen most of them lather up before performing a bare-handed dressing change.

That is demeaning...and if I was a patient I wouldn't like it either. If I had to ask my nurse if she washed her hands what else would I have to ask. Who dreams up this stuff?

sbic56, BSN, RN

Specializes in Obstetrics, M/S, Psych. Has 24 years experience.

I like the conditions you presented to your administration stating that all, docs too, should have to wear it...personally, though, there is no way I'd wear that button.

Although I certainly wouldn't want to wear a big old button that tells patients to ask me, it has been demonstrated by observing healthcare workers that many do NOT wash their hands before and after patient contact. I had to observe staff for an infection control project once, and I saw many who went in and out of rooms without washing. The reasoning behind telling patients to ask is OK, but the button thing is a bit much....

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

If I had to ask my nurse if she washed her hands what else would I have to ask.

Exactly.

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

This would be about the same as "Ask me if i pick my nose" button to me.

I would not wear that. We once had a mother who put a sign up on her baby's isolette that said "Nurses, please wash your hands before you touch me". It lasted all of 20 seconds into my shift.

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

Not to mention a button typically has a pin on it. That's just asking for injury.

This would be about the same as "Ask me if i pick my nose" button to me.

:chuckle I'm going to have to get out my trusty Sharpie and customize a few.

Although I certainly wouldn't want to wear a big old button that tells patients to ask me, it has been demonstrated by observing healthcare workers that many do NOT wash their hands before and after patient contact. I had to observe staff for an infection control project once, and I saw many who went in and out of rooms without washing. The reasoning behind telling patients to ask is OK, but the button thing is a bit much....

Agreed. Did I mention the admins handing out the buttons were accompanied by a person costumed as a 9-foot hand? The 'fingertips' were actually brushing the ceiling as he walked around the unit. Yep.

Agreed. Did I mention the admins handing out the buttons were accompanied by a person costumed as a 9-foot hand? The 'fingertips' were actually brushing the ceiling as he walked around the unit. Yep.

OMG !!!!!!!!!!! :rotfl: :rotfl:

I wonder what schmuck they talked into dressing up like a big hand???

They probably thought it was cute.....You all should have got out a bunch of hand sanitizer and attacked the "big hand" :rotfl:

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