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Topics About 'Ppe'.

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  1. I am an RN working full time in the ED. Every shift I am subjected to below par PPE standards. Asked to re-use N95 and surgical masks for multiple patients, covid or not. So it was not to my surprise when I got a call informing me a patient I had provided care for later had a positive covid 19 test. I was informed to contact our employee health if I developed symptoms. A few days later I had a cough, sore throat, HA, fatigue and sneezing. I contacted my employee health as instructed, a test was ordered, I was instructed to remain at home til I received my results. Unfortunately I am still waiting...... My issue with the situation is that my employer has already let me know the repercussions of a negative test, should that be my result. I will receive an occurrence for missing my shift while awaiting test results. (The quantine was orderd by employee health) I will have to use my accrued PTO to cover any hours missed while in quantine awaiting my test results. I will also have the weekend shifts I miss counted against me while in quantine awaiting results. Meaning I can have less weekend shifts off for the remainder of the year. As an employee I have always helped when it comes to providing for our adopted Christmas family or the food drives. As an ED nurse I am in the frontline of this pandemic, caring for those in need, risking my own health for lack of PPE. This has been extremely difficult for me to understand how the hospital I work for can treat me this way as I await my results. The community has been amazing and supportive of our ED staff. They have given snacks, meals, encouragement and thanks this entire time. However, the hospital I work for can't do the same. It is shameful to work for such an organization. Is this OK? Is this fair?
  2. I'm a senior nursing student and this debate arose with a couple of my classmates and me. I work as an ER tech and they work as patient care techs on the floor. As of right now, CDC guidelines state for PPE: So basically CDC is saying wear an N95 if you have it, but if you don't, wear a surgical mask until you can get an N95. So if you have a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient, and all you have is a surgical mask and no N95, can you refuse to take care of that patient? Do you face any legal repercussions or potential fallout from your employer if you do refuse? Asking not only about tech positions, but RN positions as well.
  3. tnbutterfly - Mary

    A COVID-19 Dilemma:  Where are all the PPEs?

    The deadly Coronavirus Pandemic has evolved into a much faster-growing monster than anticipated by many, infecting more than anyone could imagine. Hospitals are filling up with Coronavirus patients. ICU beds and ventilators are in short supply. As frightening as the virus is, the doctors and nurses on the front line of care are worried more about the lack of adequate personal protective equipment including N95 masks, surgical gowns, gloves, and eye gear. Without the proper protection, doctors and nurses are risking their lives daily as well as endangering their patients and their families as they care for those infected with the virus. Several healthcare professionals have already been infected; some have even succumbed to the disease. Recommended Protective Equipment The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends health care workers should wear protective gowns, gloves, goggles and masks while treating potential and confirmed cases of Covid-19 to avoid exposure. But, to add to the frustration of doctors and nurses, there has been some disagreement over which masks are needed. Previously, the CDC advised this use of tight-fitting respirators like the N95 or powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) which cover the entire head. In early March, the CDC updated its recommendation by saying that regular surgical masks are an acceptable option when examining or treating a coronavirus patient. More than likely, this change was based primarily on the "mask shortage" rather than on healthcare professional and patient safety. Due to the shortage, many hospitals are requiring their staff to reuse their masks, whether it be surgical masks or N95 respirators many times, sometimes for up to 30 days, unless they become soiled. Homemade Masks?? The CDC also stated the following: As a result of this statement, mask-making groups popped up all over the country, trying to do what they could to help protect the healthcare providers. So what’s all the fuss about? Isn’t a mask a mask? The FDA website offers a comparison of N95 respirators and surgical masks, both of which are examples of PPEs that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. Surgical Masks Loose-fitting; does not provide complete protection Help block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter that may contain viruses and bacteria Does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures (COVID-19 is a small-particle) Not intended to be used more than once. N95 Respirators A respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles Blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles The filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of surgical masks Not intended for public use Not intended to be reused From the lists, you can see that nurses and doctors should be using a tightly fitted N95 respirator designed to keep out more particles. What’s Being Done to Get More Masks and Other Equipment? Project Airbridge A planeload of health care supplies arrived in New York City on Sunday, March 29, from China. This is part of an effort the White House says will expedite the arrival of goods that are badly needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic. According to a White House statement, the shipment included 130,000 N95 masks, nearly 1.8 million other face masks and gowns, more than 10.3 million gloves and more than 70,000 thermometers. This is the first of about 20 flights through early April for a public-private partnership it's called Project Airbridge. Thank You Hopefully, all healthcare professionals and frontline responders will receive what they need to provide protection for themselves, their patients, and their families while continuing this battle against a deadly Coronavirus. Until then, nurses will continue to show up and provide compassionate care...because that’s what nurses do. They are indeed heroes, and for that we thank you! Your service and dedication does not go unnoticed. If you want to share your story, we have a special COVID-19 Disaster forum where you can safely and anonymously talk with other nurses.  You can also participate in our article contest - How is Covid -19 Affecting Your Life?
  4. Joe V

    COVID-19: The War

    By now, every single solitary person on the face of the earth knows what is happening. Covid-19 is on the news hour after hour, day after day. We keep up with alerts constantly. We practice social-distancing. We work under adverse conditions, pleading and demanding adequate PPEs … and, we worry. One thing first and foremost on our minds is our family and friends. We strive to ensure that they are not infected. What about you as a Nurse? Other than the CDC recommendations, what additional precautions do you personally take to ensure your family members are safe?
  5. By Natalia Dabrowska, MSN-CNL, RN Change for the Future In all the craziness in the midst of COVID-19, it is easy to only focus on the present, but we cannot forget to elicit change for the future as well. If we don’t do it now, it may never be done. No more pushing it off or putting it on the back burner with, “Well this is how it’s always been.” That clearly does not work. Shortages of Staff and Equipment I am currently working across three different hospitals navigating this pandemic. Like everywhere else in the country, there is a shortage of masks, equipment, PPE, possibly ventilators and beds. There is also already a shortage of nurses and staff on a GOOD day, without these huge spikes of hospitalizations flooding in. Well here’s some news that nurses have always known: There is not actually a shortage of nurses—There is a shortage of nurses willing to work UNDER THESE CONDITIONS. Case and point: While we are being called to the front lines without proper gear, being rationed protective equipment, we ourselves are not being rationed. For instance, my main job is as a pediatric pulmonary nurse coordinator. I have two other nurses who share this same role with me. Usually one of us is in the office, one of us is with patients, and the third may work on the Cystic Fibrosis registry and research. In an effort to reduce exposure to patients, we cancelled all non-urgent appointments, testing, research, etc. This put all THREE of us coordinators in the office the same day. One of our doctors was fuming. She said each of our chances of contracting COVID-19 is OVER 50% and if one falls down we ALL fall down. Still, administration and management did not budge. They continue to lead “updates” via zoom meetings, where they sit on camera in sweatshirts from the comfort of their own homes while we put ourselves at risk. A Time for Change This is the first sign that it is time for change. There is no room in healthcare for people who choose to sit at home rather than jump into the trenches when patients and entire communities need us. The reason our Healthcare System so often fails us is because there is NO room for it to be business-driven and for-profit for a small group of individuals ready to cash it all in. Why Weren't We Ready? THAT is why we were not ready for something like this. We should have been ready. There is no excuse. Yet we weren’t because we have non-medical people making decisions along with medical people who somehow never even put hands on a patient. These are the people we let run the show and it is shown time and time again that this FAILS. We are one of the most developed first world countries on this planet and we continue to have one of the worst healthcare systems. We have high rates of maternal mortality, infant death, and others. There is NO excuse for this. We work short-staffed or with unsafe assignments while “higher up” people don’t care. What they care about is apologizing to the patient who had a meltdown because the cafeteria put orange juice on their lunch tray instead of apple juice by mistake. They don’t support the patient’s nurse who gets blamed for this even though she kept a very sick patient alive that day while juggling 5 others for 12 or 16 hours. It is too often a thankless job. And yet, the nurse who does this day in and day out is the one who does NOT get listened to about making changes and improving workflow, patient care, and safety. Who Cares About Employees' Health? We give all of ourselves for a system that does not even realize it would collapse without us. This is even better shown with this example during this pandemic: One of our CRNA’s worked side-by-side a doctor during a five-hour surgery. This doctor later became symptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital told the CRNA that he was exposed but could not get tested and that he should self-monitor—but come to work still. This group of CRNA’s later bought their own respirators because the hospital could not provide them with enough. Instead of applauding this, the hospital told them they cannot wear them because IT MIGHT MAKE PATIENTS AND VISITORS NERVOUS. So, who cares about our employees’ health as long as we minimize any concern for everyone else (who is in even more danger if our exposed employees are walking around unprotected)? We are at war during this time with COVID-19. We are at war and we are not properly equipping our soldiers. We are at war and our generals are sitting at home hoping that not all of us fall while fighting their battle for them. We are at war and having to sacrifice ourselves. Make no mistake- medicine is built off of the sacrifices of our soldiers. We give up bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, holidays with families, weekends, sleep, and more. We even risk ourselves when we know we shouldn’t. I once ripped my gloves off at a micro-preemie delivery when it was believed mom had an unknown infection. We had finally gotten the tiny endotracheal tube in the right spot, about 6cm at the lip, and I had to tape it in place, with what you can imagine was a tiny, tiny piece of tape. This is always a rush to ensure we do not lose the tube and get the baby stable as soon as possible. The tape kept sticking my gloves and I couldn’t peel it off, so I finally ripped off the gloves and thereby exposed myself to this baby covered in maternal fluid. I did this and do things like this, because we all do at some point in our careers, because in this game of life and death we try to win at life as much as possible. We do this because when we have a really hard shift or a death, part of what heals us is being able to look back on the situation and say, “I did everything I could have possibly done. I gave it my all. We all did our best.” My fear is that we may not be able to say this when we look back at COVID-19. We are already at a loss and drowning. We don’t have the equipment to do our best and we may get knocked out in the process. So we while we continue to try the best we can with what we have, we cannot forget that when this war is over, our war on the healthcare system is just beginning. Enough is Enough We have to continue to come together and rise. We finally have to say enough is enough and not back down anymore. We have to storm the streets and government buildings the way we are storming the hospitals to fight this thing. We have to demand safe staffing ratios. We have to demand appropriate compensation. We have to demand a complete reform of the structure. We have to demand putting selfless, medically competent people in charge to pioneer our hospitals—those who come into the trenches with us when we need leadership and all hands on deck. We need to make our healthcare system something better than using drowning nurses as pillars and Press Ganey scores as the entire foundation while our “leaders” sit on top in the ivory tower. Now More Than Ever The time is now. No, actually, the time was yesterday, was years ago, but the next best time is now. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our patients. We owe it to our communities and to all those who will be joining this humbling workforce after us. These burdens we have been carrying on our backs can be eased with a paradigm shift. It is time to rebuild. This war may be our hardest and most challenging one yet, but it is the most necessary, now more than ever.
  6. Marianna5

    Considering Quitting my Job

    I just read new updates on our PPE policy - no N95 masks for taking care of covid patients except for certain procedures. Last time I worked we were still allowed to wear N95 (one per shift). I am turning my 2 week notice in... Do you think there will be repercussions for your license of quitting the job in this time even with 2 weeks notice?
  7. j1m2f3

    This is Bull

    To Whom it may concern, My wife and I are both nurses. This week she brought up her concern for not having the proper equipment to take care of COVID-19 patients. One of the managers actually said, “Everyone is going to get this anyway.” They currently are implementing a plan to wear HOMEMADE CLOTH MASKS. I am not kidding. This is their plan for the surgical mask shortage. Forget about getting an N95 mask. NURSES SHOULD BE PISSED! We took the so called “oath” in the U.S.A., the richest country in the world and the one with the best health care systems. Right? We thought protective gear would be available to us at all times. Upper management and CEOs should be held negligent for not being prepared. Instead they are sending their staff threatening emails while they hide in their billion dollar office buildings with rivers and waterfalls built right inside of them! Nurses are sent into dangerous conditions with in some cases now NO protective gear at all! We are risking the health of ourselves, our patients and our families. Don't tell me that they didn't know this was coming! As far as I'm concerned, every hospital that runs out of masks and vents should be held criminally accountable for their greed and lack of preparation! Check out this simple time-line: 2002 SARS outbreak; 2005 Bird Flu; 2009 H1N1; 2014 Ebola; 2015 Milton Johnson HIGHEST PAID CEO IN HEALTH CARE! Hospital Corporation of America gets a 20% bonus bringing his total compensation up from $14.6 million in 2014 to $17.8 million; 2015 Toby Cosgrove CEO Cleveland Clinic Base Pay: $4.5 million RANKED #2 hospital in the world; 2019 Gianrico Farrugia CEO Mayo Clinic Base Pay: $1.91 million Ranked #1 hospital in the world; Average cost of an N95 mask: $0.75-$1.50 Average cost of a top of the line ventilator: $20,000-$40,000 I'll let you do the math...and these wonderful individuals had no idea something like this could ever happen. Right? I will leave you with this telling quote in light of the COVID-19 pandemic right off of the highest paid health care CEO's website https://hcahealthcare.com/care-like-no-other/stories/resilience.dot ...“In the face of a threat, we don’t panic, we prepare.” You sure as HELL have NOT prepared. They have all been getting filthy rich off the backs of nursing and now they threaten our jobs. Some of us WILL die because of this! Many people are saying that not many will die from COVID-19 but what about next time. To them you are expendable as long as they get their bonuses at the end of the year. What a sad state of the health care system and humanity we have become.
  8. saydee77

    Covid 19 and its affects

    I'm more annoyed and angry when it comes to this virus. My employer won't provide any PPE and won't allow mask. As a non medical professional he says its not necessary, even though we do physicals on people who may be sick. People are acting like this virus is like the common cold. That angers me. Alot of people won't take serious precaution, they listen to alot of myths like the virus doesn't affect black people as I nurse I like to educate, and help people use caution and add certain measures to their daily living to decrease the chances of them becoming sick. That has just been so hard. I think when people panic they don't think, have reasoning skills or use much common sence.
  9. ghillbert

    What happens if you quit?

    Are you allowed to quit during a pandemic/state of emergency? Are there licensure ramifications? If my employer is not able to supply appropriate PPE does that change anything?
  10. boneknuckleskin

    PPE at COVID-19 drive thru clinic question

    I met criteria and was tested. My question is the nursing staff didn’t use regular disposable gloves. They had on those snug fitting surgical gloves that go nearly half way up your forearm and just cleaned the gloves with hand sanitizer frequently / between patients but did not see anyone change gloves. This freaked me out when the nurse swabbing my nose placed the back of her gloves hand on my cheek. People were coughing and gagging when being swabbed for strep / flu / COVID-19 and they were just dousing with hand sanitizer and moving on to the next. I had a fever and was a little delirious, I probably should have asked questions right then. Anyway, is this normal at any of the other drive-thru clinics? Am I over-reacting? I’m a high-risk patient.
  11. FLOATnureCO

    Proper PPE

    I’m assigned to the COVID floor and our PPE is a mask, gown, goggles, and eye pro. Reuse the mask for ONE WEEK. only an n95 is needed if getting a bronch or on a vent. I know the WHO says it’s droplet but I see posts from other COVID floor and the nurses are decked out in those gas mask looking things! when asked if we can wear an n95, our ID docs said we should set the example (as in don’t waste them because everyone will want one). I'm scared, y’all. Should I purchase my own n95s and wear them anyway? I have small children at home.
  12. The headlines have moved onto other dramatic local and world events, but Ebola is still out there, killing. After declaring the Ebola outbreak over on May 9, 2015, Liberia buried an Ebola positive person on June 28, 2015 according to the article, "2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - Case Counts" by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Although it is not considered an outbreak anymore, one death from Ebola is too many. Early detection is the key, and although Liberia is now considered a country with "former widespread transmission" public officials continue to keep an active watch for Ebola cases. As of July 31, 2015, the above mentioned article stated that there are no cases of Ebola in the following countries: Nigeria, Spain, United States, Mali, Senegal, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Who developed the Ebola Vaccine? In The Washington Post article the, "Ebola vaccine appears to be highly effective, could be 'a game changer," the new vaccine is introduced as VSV-EBOV. The Public Health Agency of Canada developed the vaccine which is licensed through Merck. Donald Henderson, a professor at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and known for his work on the smallpox vaccine, also played a part in the design of the Ebola vaccine trial. On July 31, 2015, the information was released out of Geneva that a review board of international experts, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, stated that the trial for the new vaccine should continue, calling it "highly effective." Funding for the Ebola vaccine has come from the U.S. and Canadian governments. What kind of vaccine is VSV-EBOV? Although the vaccine is alive, it has no live Ebola virus in it (Phillip). The vaccine replicates and is modified by replacing one gene with a single Ebola gene. This allows the body to fight the Ebola virus. How did they conduct the study? Beginning in March of 2015, researchers used a "ring" method to vaccinate people in Guinea. The ring method was used in the 60s and 70s to abolish smallpox and has proven to effective again. The vaccine is given to the people around the patient in a "circle of protection" (Phillip). This controlled circle helps prevent further transmission of the Ebola virus. In Guinea's affected communities, single doses of the vaccine were administered. According to the article, "World on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine," by the WHO, "over 4000 close contacts of almost 100 Ebola patients, including family members, neighbors, and co-workers, have voluntarily participated in the trial." Because the vaccine has been deemed safe, the continuing trials will include 13-17 year olds and possibly 6-12 year old children. What were the results of the study so far? Of the over 4,000 people who have received the vaccine, none of them contracted the Ebola virus, it is one hundred percent effective (Phillip). Caution is raised by the researchers, knowing that further studies are needed to prove the vaccine's effectiveness over a long period of time. They know it works short term, it's the long term results they hope will be just as good. The Guinean national regulatory authority and ethics review committee has approved the study of the Ebola vaccine to continue. Because of the fantastic results so far, researchers have started to vaccinate all at risk people. One of the doctors from Doctors without Borders, Bertrand Draguez is quoted as saying, " For the first time ever, we received evidence of efficacy of a vaccine that will help fighting Ebola. Too many people have been dying from this extremely deadly disease, and it has been very frustrating for healthcare workers to feel so powerless against it (Phillip). The fast and credible results that have come out of the vaccine trial proves that nations can work together for an end result. This collaborative effort has brought many organizations and has changed how the world counters a life threatening disease. Precautions For nurses, not only is our concern for the patient, but how do we protect ourselves? There were quite a few healthcare workers who were infected with Ebola in the outbreak in the Fall of 2015. The CDC admits in their article, "Review of Human-to-Human Transmission of Ebola Virus," that healthcare workers did not have the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). Some of the cases where health care workers contracted the virus over the years has been a break in protocol. In 1995 in Kiwit, Democratic Republic of Congo 25% of the cases of Ebola was health care workers. It was determined that most did not use the appropriate precautions, specifically, one nurse admitted to rubbing her eyes with soiled gloves (Review). The most recent outbreak of Ebola has been a learning experience regarding PPE for healthcare workers. Because it has not been determined whether the virus is airborne, the CDC recommends standard, contact, and droplet precautions with no skin exposure. All healthcare workers involved with an Ebola patient are required to train in dressing and undressing proper PPE, and be observed by a manager at all times. Conclusion The most important thing a nurse can do is protect him/herself by using the applicable PPE. Take the time to make yourself safe so you can then help the patient. Don't let doctors or the clock rush you into short changing yourself and opening the opportunity for a virus or other contractible disease to bite you. The Ebola vaccine is good news for everyone, let's hope for continued good results. If you have had any direct experience with the Ebola virus, please share with us! References "Review of Human-to-Human Transmission of Ebola Virus." Center for Disease Control and Prevention." 22 July, 2015. 1 August 1, 2015. Web. "2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - Case Counts." Center for Disease Control and Prevention." 31 July, 2015. 1 August, 2015. Web. Phillip, Abby, Larimer, Sarah, & Achenbach, Joel. "Ebola vaccine appears to be highly effective, could be a 'game-changer." The Washington Post. 31 July, 2015. 1 August, 2015. Web. "World on the verge of an Effective Ebola vaccine." World Health Organization: news release. 1 August, 2015. Web.
  13. Dear, dear friends. We all hate being "under the man". I get it. But goodness. Let's face it. Protective gear is a rule because it is so very necessary. If you are ever fearing a back spray, please, wear the gear to protect your ever-absorbing skin and EYES. We touch some of the most unruly things in our profession. In the longest run on sentence I would love to share with you some of my icky-stickiest: maggots in the feet, wounds to the bone, explosive clostridium difficile, excessive lice that took over a week to treat (HEAD TO TOE), tunneling wounds in the peri-area that exceeded 8 inches in depth, infected boils bigger than golf balls, dehisced abdominal surgical sites (staples flew across the room), goopy tracheostomies that hadn't been cleaned in so long they were almost cemented in place, shingles galore, meningitis with fevers of 104, tuberculosis with projectile sputum that was yellow/green, anything sputum (makes me cringe), explosive bloody diarrhea, Mount Vesuvius-like blood spurts when inserting an airway while in a code, removing feeding devices thus spurting bile, etc, etc, etc. Did you turn a little green yet? If you're a nurse, I am sure the answer is no. For me, sputum always makes me a bit (more like a LOT) nauseated, and sometimes uncontrollably gaggy. Funny and so not funny all at the same time. It's kind of embarrassing. I'm always afraid it will make my patient feel bad (in any way shape or form). Moral of the story above is that PPE is not just a GREAT choice when dealing with our usual: MRSA, VRE, Cdiff, Meningitis, Tuberculosis, Shingles, etc. Any time you are coming into contact with flaking skin, excessive wound drainage, foot care, you name it, WEAR SOMETHING TO COVER YOURSELF. We all know that Cdiff has legs. The spores have legs people. It attaches to things and it clings on for dear life. Do you not realize that this advanced bug has the ability to live on surfaces for extended periods of time unless it's given a proper clean? Seriously. If you can't imagine anything else, imagine these microscopic critters sticking to you, your hands, your clothes and shoes. Now think of what you touch. Your face, phone, private parts (you gotta pee at some point), say you pick your nose for that stubborn boogey, or capture a stray eyelash, or even chew a nail.. Yum yum, nom nom, right? Wrong. Disgusting. Hospitals are cesspools. May I remind you that everyone is sick? (That or asking for Aunt Dilaula, but that's a different issue). It is OVERLY tedious to gown up, remove, gown up, remove, and go from room to room. I guarantee that your neutropenic patient who is crazy sick (or may even have cancer) greatly appreciates your attention to detail when washing your hands in between patients. It's easy to get cavalier when moving fast, rushing or just thinking that hand sanitizer will do the job. If I could give you a sad face/awkward frown, I totally would right now. The thing is that we all know this is necessary, an issue, and a PIA, but we have to do it. Personally, when I get home and hug my love, I don't want to pass someone else's poo to his lovely person. It's rude. And it's just down-right gross. What do we do then? Comply comply comply. Wash your hands. Comply some more. We are a profession that washes our hands before and after using the bathroom. It's just the way we need to conduct ourselves. I personally don't want to go to the bathroom and take care of MY business after putting a suppository up someone else's end. Just saying. Your poo-poo platter doesn't need to be on my platter. Okay okay. Enough puns. Things are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics. When in doubt, don the yellow gown (or whatever color your hospital PPE is). When there are creepy crawling things that are jumping, break out the hazmat and have no shame. I've worn hazmat and I felt so so SOOOOOO blessed. I did NOT want to bring that ju-ju home with me. I love my job, but I don't have to love the bugs involved. What can be a controlled infection can turn to sepsis quickly. Be aware and seriously, just wash your stinking hands! I will never forget how horrified I was when palpating an abdomen that I didn't know had a tunneled wound down to the patient's infected stomach appliance from bariatric surgery. Let's just say that warm puss from someone's insides on your bare hands is enough to make you want to autoclave your body for the rest of the shift. Believe me when I say that I love wounds and wound care. I find it fascinating. But when I'm assisting on an Unna boot and physical therapy is blasting off dead skin with their crazy machine, I'm covered with PPE head to toe. Because as rewarding as it is to heal wounds and assist in curing the sick, I'd rather not have your skin flakes in my hair (thank you very much). There have been times when a culture has come back and I wasn't sure if the patient needed contact precautions or not. The navigator for that is literally a phone call away. If night shift can't get ahold of someone who knows for sure then a 'cheat sheet' needs to be made. For you and your safety, always err on the side of caution. Two last things to keep germs at bay... REMOVE your shoes before getting in the car. If I had a dollar for every time I stepped in poop, pee, vomit, spit, blood, or found those things clinging happily to my shoes, I would have paid for all of your school loans and probably paid off your mortgage (you're welcome). Leave those nasty buggers in the TRUNK of your car in a box. It is NOT necessary for those shoes to see the light of day besides fluorescent lights at your job, and then the brief walk to your car. You don't wear shoes in the house? Good for you. I don't either, but! Wearing work shoes home with first driving, then leaving them wherever you do and then driving the next day while (you're off) in your awesome civilian kicks, heading to a friends house and walking into their door... You're welcome. Whatever grime was on your work shoes, can make a lovely imprint on your car's pedals and excitedly await another shoe to make close friends with. It's truly that simple. Lastly, my dear dear germ-ed family, our scrubs. Our scrubs. They need their own planet. If there was a laundromat in space, we'd need it for frequent use. Since that is not (yet) a possibility (let's go NASA!) we have to wash our scary things at home. Rule number one. I don't care how much you paid for those super cute/stylish/comfy Grey's Anatomy scrubs (they are my favorite too), if you get excessive bodily fluids on it. Trash it. End of story. Buh-bye! I had Cdiff pooped down my leg once. I bought the scrubs the DAY BEFORE. Guess where they went? BIOHAZARD. OR scrubs the rest of my shift, for the win! Rule number two. Scrubs need to be cleaned on HIGH heat and washed separately from the rest of your gear. Think about it.. Wash your washcloths with your scrubs. Later on, wash your face, bum, etc with that washcloth... I don't think I need to elaborate more. I make my own detergent and use essential oils for their antimicrobial properties in my fabric softener. Then I do an empty cycle behind my scrub laundry to clean out the machine. Do what you need to do friends, the bugs we deal with daily are serious. Unfortunately, the germs we work with, deal with, fight with, all deserve respect beyond what we've been giving them. I'm sure we are all walking around carrying something or with some antibodies of some sort... But for me, I'd rather win than have to deal with MRSA boils, or Cdiff diarrhea.. Personally, I'd also like to refrain from nursing my own tuberculosis. We need to have compassion for our patients. Not the germs.

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