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The Nurses' Role in the Prevention of Healthcare-associated Infections - Research Paper Example

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Abstract The paper has been designed to discuss the causes, impacts of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) as well as the role of the nurses in preventing these. Some of the common infections include: Catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, bloodstream infections and pneumonia (HealthyPeople, 2013)…
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The Nurses Role in the Prevention of Healthcare-associated Infections
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The paper has been designed to discuss the causes, impacts of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) as well as the role of the nurses in preventing these. Some of the common infections include: Catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, bloodstream infections and pneumonia (HealthyPeople, 2013). Studies have shown that nurses have a significant role to play in preventing the HAIs since these negatively impact on the welfare of different people who may be affected. Mandatory and voluntary surveillance schemes are effective in dealing with the problem associated with HAIs and these should be properly implemented by the nurses. Introduction Nurses play a pivotal role in the prevention of healthcare associated infections especially in a clinical setting. As such, this paper has been designed to critically analyse the roles played by the nurses in preventing infections in the healthcare system. The paper starts by explaining some of the healthcare infections that are common in healthcare systems. The main body of the paper will discuss the roles played by the nurses in preventing these healthcare related infections. The main points discussed will be summarised at the end of the paper. Main body There are various healthcare associated infections (HAIs) that patients get while receiving treatment for medical or surgical conditions. According to HealthyPeople (2013), some of the common infections include the following: Catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, bloodstream infections and pneumonia. These are regarded as leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States and other countries and they significantly contribute to an increase in healthcare costs every year. Healthcare associated infections can be found in different clinical settings such as acute care and same day hospitals among others. HAIs are mainly caused by repeatedly using medical devices like catheters and ventilators as well as the actual layout of the healthcare facility. For instance, patient beds may be close to each other and this can cause patient to patient or patient to nurse transmission of communicable diseases such as flu. As a result of their negative impact on the healthcare of different people who may be affected, they should be eliminated from the healthcare system and the nurses have a great role to play in carrying out this initiative. Some studies have shown that quality education and training of nurses among other health care workers play a pivotal role in preventing the HAIs in hospitals. For instance, careful use of antibiotics is effective in preventing HAIs since the risk is very high among patients if they are not properly administered. Nurses should be knowledgeable when they administer these drugs among the patients in different healthcare settings. According to Collins (n.d.), nurses also have role to “monitor and assure compliance with aseptic work practices such as providing knowledgeable collaborative oversight on environmental decontamination.” Nurses should properly sterilise all the equipment used in hospitals using a proper disinfectant such as jick which kills viruses and germs. Nurses should also avoid reusing syringes in the hospital since these are likely to cause HAIs. Another best practice that can be implemented by the nurses in preventing HAIs is to wash their hands with soap or other disinfectant after they have attended to a certain patient. This will help to avoid the transmission of germs from one patient to the other. Nurses can also use gloves when they are attending to the patients so that they avoid contracting diseases from the patients. These gloves should be safely disposed after they have attended to the patient. The other important role that can be played by the nurses is to ensure that the environment surrounding the patient is clean so that the viruses and germs are not transmitted to other patients of people within the healthcare setting. Public Health England (2013) posits to the effect that infection control and the control of antimicrobial resistance in the healthcare setting can be implemented through monitoring the infections. This can be done through mandatory and voluntary surveillance schemes such as monitoring blood stream infections and sterilising them periodically. The nurses also have a role to monitor surgical site infections and sterilising them so that the infections do not spread to the other body parts. The nurses also have a role to play in monitoring other healthcare associated infections through voluntary microbiology laboratory reporting system. All these measures are designed to reduce the rate of healthcare associated infections and they are very effective if they are properly implemented. Nurses can also prevent infection by giving vaccination to at risk patients before they are discharged from the hospital (Collins, n.d.). For instance, influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations can be administered to the patients before they are discharged so as to limit the chances of contracting the infections. Other preventive measures include insertion practices for central intravenous catheters (Collins, n.d). for instance, the catheters can only be used when essential and proper care and protocols should be followed. Conclusion In conclusion, it can be noted that there are various healthcare associated infections (HAIs) that can infect both patients and nurses in a healthcare system. Some of the common infections include: Catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, bloodstream infections and pneumonia (HealthyPeople, 2013). These significantly contribute to an increase in healthcare costs every year and they should be prevented. As discussed above, HAIs are caused by various factors and they can be prevented if the nurses implement different practice and control measures in their operations. References Collins, A.S. (n.d). Preventing Health Care-Associated Infections. Viewed from: . HealthyPeople (2013). ‘Healthcare associated infections. ’ Viewed from: . Public Health England (2013). Healthcare associated infections. Viewed from . Read More
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