In a recent placement as a student nurse in a clinical ward, I was asked to work in the supervision of my senior nurse who asked me to collect sputum samples of some infected patients. As I was collecting samples, I encountered Mr. Rhodes (Pseudonym) who complained of having extreme pain in his abdomen from the last two years. He told me that he was feeling pain because of the surgical wound and was at extreme unrest. I was about to address his wound when I was interrupted by one of the senior nurses intervened and asked me if I had followed the hand sanitation protocol before addressing a new patient. I suddenly realized that I had not sanitized my hands and immediately used the standard hand sanitation procedure and then addressed the needs of the patient and inspected his wound in the supervision of a senior nurse.
I was initially a little hesitant as this was one of my initial experiences in the clinical setting. However, since I had the assistance of the senior nurse, I felt comfortable and confident that I will be guided in the right way to conduct the required procedures. When I was collecting sputum samples, I was alert and focused clearly on the clinical procedure that was taught to us. I was adequately following hand hygiene and sanitation protocols. However, when I encountered Mr. Rhodes, he was in severe pain and this made me feel highly concerned and in haste, I had forgotten to sanitize my hands and adhere to hand hygiene procedure. I felt responsible for my action and was glad that I was intervened in time that prevented the clinical error of hand hygiene noncompliance.
I was hesitant as I had little experience of working in the clinical setting. When I was intervened by the senior nurse, I felt responsible and accountable as I was aware that hand hygiene compliance is an essential component of quality care (Gould et al., 2017). Hand hygiene compliance is necessary for the care settings as it allows for maintaining sanitized conditions while performing any kind of medical interaction. Adherence to hand hygiene is also important as it helps in preventing the development of secondary infections in care settings (Jolliff & Reed, 2017). I was relieved and glad that I was intervened by the senior nurse because it allowed me to adhere to the hand hygiene protocols and provide effective care in the clinical setting. I also evaluated the essential need for adherence to the established protocols to provide high quality care.
The World Health Organization has established a standard of five critical moments of hand hygiene that assure compulsive hand sanitation before touching the patient, before performing clean or aseptic procedures, before body fluid exposure or risk of exposure, before touching a patient, and after touching the patient surroundings (RN et al., 2017). The significance of hand hygiene is that it allows for performing suitable medical procedures in clean and sanitized conditions and also helps in limiting the risks of hospital-acquired infections in the clinical setting. Secondary infections or the hospital-acquired infections are one of the major health problems that are associated with the care systems as it increases the hospital stay of the patient, increases the burden on the healthcare system and also results in increasing the health costs (Jolliff & Reed, 2017).
Through this experience, I can conclude that I have learned the importance of maintaining hand hygiene and complying with the hand hygiene protocols in the care settings. I also concluded that assistance and supervision from senior colleagues are essential as it helps in reminding the essential protocols and helps in providing better care to the professionals.
In my future as a clinical nurse and in student placements, I will ensure that I adhere to hand hygiene and sanitation protocols. I will also ensure to help in the development of hand hygiene as a definitive and essential practice in the clinical settings so that the compliance to the hand hygiene increases. I will suggest the inclusion of reminder systems in the clinical settings that can help healthcare practitioners adhere to hand hygiene and sanitation protocols (Boyce, 2017). I will also advocate the essential need of maintaining hand hygiene and sanitation policies in the clinical setting to assure that the fellow care practitioners so that they understand the essential need of maintaining hand hygiene and complying with the established protocols (Kingston et al., 2016).
Gould, D. J., Moralejo, D., Drey, N., Chudleigh, J. H., & Taljaard, M. (2017). Interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance in patient care. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (9).
Jolliff, K., & Reed, R. (2017). The journey to improve hand hygiene compliance through data validation and the evaluation of compliance barriers and interventions. American Journal of Infection Control, 45(6), S48.
RN, O. D., Jones, D., Martello, M., Biron, A., & Lavoie‐Tremblay, M. (2017). A systematic review on the effectiveness of interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance of nurses in the hospital setting. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 49(2), 143-152.
Boyce, J. M. (2017). Electronic monitoring in combination with direct observation as a means to significantly improve hand hygiene compliance. American Journal of Infection Control, 45(5), 528-535.
Kingston, L., O'Connell, N. H., & Dunne, C. P. (2016). Hand hygiene-related clinical trials reported since 2010: A systematic review. Journal of Hospital Infection, 92(4), 309-320.
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