(DOH, 2001) The maintenance of an acceptable level of cleanliness is part of promoting comfort, safety, and the well being of the patient. (Young, 1991) It is in fact the most basic human right that all nurses should give to the patients. One of the key aspects of personal hygiene is hand washing. Hand washing, among the nurses and patients, is very important in the respiratory ward because it is one of the most effective infection control measures we have in the service of health care. (Nicolle, 2007; Goldmann, 2006) Both nurses and client should wash their hands before eating, before and after using the toilet, and after having a physical contact with any body substances especially the sputum, blood, urine, and/or drainage that comes from cleaning an open wound, when changing the bed linens of the patients’ bed, and when assisting the patient with urinary and bed pan.
(Nicolle, 2007; Chan-Yeung and Yu, 2003) The practice of personal hygiene, which is being overlook by a lot of health care providers, is proven effective in the prevention of dangerous type of blood infection that kills thousands of patients each year.
(Seward, 2006; Goldmann, 2006) Specifically infections caused by the use of central-line catheters, injection through a vein in the neck, chest or groin can be prevented with constant hand washing and wearing of protective clothing, gloves, masks, etc. (Seward, 2006) Nurses wearing protective devices such as sterile gown, gloves and masks is not only for the protection of the health care professionals but also to protect the patients from getting infected due to virus or micro organisms that comes from other patients. The main purpose of hand washing is to reduce the number of microorganisms on the hand of the nurse.
Since it is the job of a nurse to constantly get in touch with his/her clients, hand washing is necessary to minimize the possibility of transmitting these micro organisms to our clients as well as to our own self. Cross-contamination of these bacteria and viruses, etc. would only cause more harm to the patients. The concept of keeping our fingernails short and clean is another important part of hand hygiene.
Long fingernails are proven to collect micro organisms from the environmental surroundings including the contact with infected patients. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) (AORN, 1997), the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (CDC, 2002; p. 46), and other related or similar organization has already implemented a policy that every nurse and other health care providers should keep their fingernails short and clean all the time.
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