Patients are told to ask nurses: have you washed? - page 2

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   Hellllllo Nurse
    doctors with dirty hands a real problem

    to comply with the health code, restaurant workers must wash their hands before working with food. yet, hospital workers are notorious for not washing up before they work on patients!

    according to recent research, hospital health care workers complied with handwashing rules less than half (48%) of the time. the other half, they interacted with patients without washing first.

    "noncompliance with handwashing is a substantial problem," researchers from the university of geneva, switzerland said. to reach that conclusion, a team of infection-control nurses observed health care workers at a geneva hospital for one month.

    although it seems like a minor matter, cleanliness can be a life and death issue in a hospital. more than 80,000 deaths each year are linked to infections patients contracted while in the hospital.

    these deadly infections are often passed to the patient through contact with doctors, nurses and other hospital workers. that's why most hospitals have strict rules about washing hands with antiseptic soaps -- a procedure which can greatly reduce infection risks.

    but, in more than half the cases, the rules aren't being followed. the study found that the prime offenders were the doctors themselves, who were nearly three times more likely to skip handwashing than nurses.

    the most shocking finding was that the compliance rate was lowest for those situations in which clean hands were most important. a particularly vulnerable situation is when health care workers have to move their hands from a part of the body known to be contaminated with bacteria to a relatively "clean" one, free of bacteria. yet, during this high-risk activity, health care workers washed their hands just 11% of the time.

    even in those areas of the hospital where patients' lives and health would be most threatened by the possibility of infection, dirty hands prevailed. in intensive care wards, for instance, the compliance rate was a dismal 36%.

    the researchers warned that "the real situation may be even worse than reported," since workers at the geneva hospital being studied were informed of the investigation ahead of time and knew they were being watched.

    source: annals of internal medicine, jan. 19, 1999.
  2. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    How about a sign in every hospital toom that says "Tell the administration of this hospital to staff appropriately, so that nurses have time to wash their hands properly."

    HEEEEEEEEEEECK YEA , BABY, now THAT is what I am talking about!
  3. by   Stitchie
    I wash my hands in the patient's room, where they can observe and I can do assessments/hx at the same time.

    I rarely see the MD's doing so, unless it's pre- or post-procedure.

    How about our stethoscopes? I clean mine several times a day, but it can't be nearly enough.
  4. by   Nurse Ratched
    I wouldn't have a problem with wearing the button. I make a point of washing my hands in front of patients so they know it's been done. But what's sauce for the goose....yeah, make everyone wear them.

    I really hated the buttons we had to wear at my last hospital, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" Man, they sucked.
  5. by   smk1
    if EVERYBODY has to wear the button then it is not so bad. (still ridiculous though) but the issue is going to be only certain groups having to wear the button when obviously , docs, nurses, pts, rts, cnas, etc... should all have to wear them because they all touch the patient.
  6. by   Torachan
    Gwenith - Not sure how I'd cope with being slapped by a patient. In some ways is ok I guess if the ground rules were set in that she requires anyone that touches her to wash their hands in front of her. If she did the same to the orderly, visitors, doctors delivery staff I guess it's not so bad. But if it is only against nurses I would find it insulting
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Having a child who has lived several years immunocompromised, you'd better believe I always asked (and this was back in the 80's). Nowadays like Tom said - I always wash my hands in plain sight of the patients/families and what's more I tell them why I'm washing my hands. Its not insulting, its good patient care!
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I wash in plain sight. I do NOT wish to wear some demeaning button, however. That is an insult to us in my thinking.
  9. by   mattsmom81
    I object to facilities involving the public in 'policing' us awful nurses...this concept has been getting worse and worse the past 10 yrs or so. Everybody seems to think they are our 'supervisor'.
  10. by   Q.
    I can see both sides to this.

    I applaud anything which compells the patient to take responsibility for their healthcare and their outcomes; and if that includes making sure their caregivers at least wash their hands, that tells me they are observant, astute, and are being proactive rather than passive in their healthcare. And I don't have a problem with a campaign that facilitates this.

    However, I would like to see this campaign or these buttons worn by all patient care staff, especially MDs when the research shows they are the biggest offender.
  11. by   purplemania
    And while they are at it, I think there should be signs telling visitors the nurses will be asking if they are clean. Maybe they could give demerits and if you get too many you cannot visit!
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    I always wash my hands in front of the patient. That settles any question of hygiene right away, and many patients have commented that they appreciate it.
  13. by   lujain
    [font=courier new]it is unbelievable!!!!!! if i have to hear another insulting comment like that i think i might quit the nursing profession alltogether. we know our job quite well and we dont need no patient telling us to wash our hands, its insulting!!!!
    im a nursing student in this high qulity (stuck up) college,(btw im a scholarship student their, aint no stuck up kid) anyways, we were invited to this rich persons house okay, aparently she is one of the colleges sponsers for the college, getting to the point, we were supposed to have a meeting with her,to negoiatiate the current state of nursing in the college and other nursing issues. can u imagine what her contribution to the talk was........???

    " well all i can say is that u must wash your hands and spray deodrant at all times , really you have to be clean " :stone

    come on ppl what is this? is their some sort of hidden consperiacy about nurses not being clean???? :imbar

    i mean if ppl regard us as being nothing more than a vector of spreading diseases, then why on earth r they in dire need for us all around the world?? im not asking 4 much, abit of respect would be enough.