Good hygiene is key to keeping yourself healthy in a profession that is surrounded by illness. Being a medical professional is difficult because you have to be extra cautious of catching something. Your job is to combat and prevent illnesses, not to contract them or pass them on!
But, keeping a very high level of hygiene at all times is time consuming. As you become more comfortable in your role, it might seem easier to just let things like thoroughly washing hands slip by. Don’t fall into that trap. Keep on your toes about hygiene with patients: everyone will appreciate it.
1. You Don’t Know What Your Patients Could be Carrying
When patients come to you, they could have any disease or condition under the sun. What if they have an infectious disease? You would never know until you have checked their vitals and wellness. So, make sure that you are always using hand sanitizer, soap and water, and wearing gloves.
If you’re extremely unsure, it’s not too extreme to wear a face mask when handling a patient that has first arrived. From an initial distance, you should be able to get an idea of how seriously ill they are.
Just remember, at the minimum always use hand sanitizer and gloves.
2. Cross Contamination
You thought this was just in the food service industry? Well, it applies to the medical field too, just in a slightly different way. Say you have one patient come in with a contagious virus. You shake their hand before checking them over. Then you diagnose that they have a virus. You shake their hand on their way out. Another patient comes in, you shake their hand.
See what just happened? You transferred the germs from the person with a virus to the next patient. That could be extremely dangerous. While there is always the slight chance that the second patient will not fall ill, it’s extremely likely that they will - all because you didn’t use hand sanitizer or wash your hands between patients. This needs to happen every time!
3. You Could Get Sick
As well as infecting other patients, you run the risk of infecting yourself if you do not practice good hygiene with your patients. It’s really easy to fall ill in an environment where germs are floating around.
Some simple rules to follow while dealing with patients for your own safety are as follows. Wash your hands before every patient arrives. Wear gloves when working directly with their skin, body, etc. Do not touch your face with stained gloves. Disinfect the door handles and examination tables and equipment in your practice or medical room regularly - perhaps as much as between each patient.
Always be aware of how you’re feeling. If contact with a patient has left you worn out or feeling odd, you might have gotten sick from them.
4. Setting a Good Example
You are a medical professional. You should set an example for everyone else. If a patient sees you wash your hands appropriately, they are more likely to follow in your steps. You can spread good hygiene practices by employing them yourself.
In a Simple Conclusion…
Keeping good hygiene with patients benefits everyone. Wash your hands, wrists, and the necessary parts of your room at every interval.