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What PPE to wear?

jwha jwha (Member)

Hi, I'm a nursing student, what PPE do nurses wear when toileting & bathing patients?

what about pts with gastro, the flu, vomiting, incontinence, pneumonia? When would you wear glasses? when would you wear aprons? thanks for you help :)

Edited by jwha

For toileting and bathing just standard precautions unless they are on special precautions.

All of the others listed there would be on a situational basis. For example, if I had a patient who was incontinent, I would still take standard precautions unless they had C.Diff. Then I would be sure to adhere to contact precautions.

I would wear glasses/face shield if I thought there was a risk of getting bodily fluids splashed in my eyes. Always gown up with contact precautions (MRSA, etc).

Here are some helpful links:


Personal protective equipment: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

anh06005, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Cardiac, Home Health, Primary Care. Has 6 years experience.

Just follow recommended precautions (standard, contact, droplet, airborne) and use common sense is what I say.

Gloves for toileting and bathing. If someone is vomiting do whatever you need to to protect yourself (gown, mask, etc.) though you may not have much time to gather up all those supplies (there's a reason most nurses take their scrubs off and shower as soon as they walk in the door at home). For flu you need a mask. TB and meningitis (I believe...I worked in a small hospital so never really got this) are airborne so a N95 that is properly fitted.

I will say when dealing with pegs and such take extra precautions. I always seem to get messy with those. And stuff seems to shoot everywhere :/

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

Generally I just wear gloves if they're on standard precautions. However if they have large amounts of liquid stool (which is pretty frequent in the ICU because of tubefeedings) I'll wear a gown too.

Some I work with wear eye masks; I don't typically, but stay out of the path of orifices. Particularly trachs (even if on a vent; they pop off all the time when the pt coughs, sending sputum with it) and anuses (have had pts with liquid stool pass gas while turned onto their sides.)

Vomiting tends to happen suddenly, so not a lot of time for extra PPE.

Bedside_Life RN

Specializes in Surgical Intensive Care. Has 3 years experience.

If you question the possibility of being exposed to any body fluid you cannot over protect yourself. Keep gloves and an isolation gown in your side pocket.... You'll be surprised what you come across when doing something as simple as a simple assessment.

Locate the facility protocol for contact, droplet, special enteric, reverse isolation and airborne precautions and copy these to keep on hand if you are in question.

Don't put yourself in the "line of fire" per say. And that will make more sense as time goes on haha.

You may look silly but too much is never a bad thing.


Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 1 years experience.

The other day I wore shoe covers, a gown, and two pairs of gloves when taking a patient to the bathroom. True story.

Usually I just wear gloves though.

Wear whatever PPE you think is necessary. I have been excessive at times when doing basic tasks because in those situations there were extra fluids or risks. Like, if your GI bleed patient is taking bowel prep then you might consider shoe covers. Or if your pneumonia patient is hacking away without covering their mouth then it's acceptable to enter the room with a mask on if you feel it's necessary.