Nowadays, healthcare-associated infections constitute a serious problem in healthcare environment due to the increasing morbidity rates. In this respect, nurse should express greater awareness of the seriousness of the problem through recognizing and monitoring the rates of infections caused by insufficiently protected healthcare setting for patients. In this paper, the emphasis is placed on discussing how evidence-based practice, antibiotics prescription, and personal hygiene can contribute to the reduction of healthcare-induced infections and improve the overall quality of treatment. Additionally, there are many risk factors and determinants that influence the emergence and transmission of infections and threaten patient safety. These issues should be discussed within the given topic.
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Healthcare-associated infections create a serious threat to patient’s safety, including undesirable complications that can even lead to lethal outcomes. Patient safety studies have defined the increasing role of nurse professionals in ensuring a health and protected environment for all patients during treatment sessions. The infection control department plays an important role in reducing the influence of healthcare-induced infections on patients and healthcare professionals. In this respect, nurses take important responsibilities for performing surveillance of various infectious diseases, as well as for implementing resolute measures. Additionally, clinical care personnel should shape the frontline defend mechanisms for employing daily control of infections, as well as for preventing the transmission of organisms to patients. Nurses are endowed with unique opportunity to reduce the influence of healthcare-associated infections through employing evidence-based practice.
The role of clinical care nurses is confined to direct participation in preventing infections through monitoring and performing compliance with aseptic procedures. Additionally, nurses should provide a collaborative approach to treating environmental decontamination to reduce transmission of microorganism from one patient to another. Healthcare workers make incredible efforts to ensure sufficient support and meet patients’ sophisticated medical needs, such as therapy, healing, and improving quality of care. Additionally, nurses should take control for all medical errors and side effects that might occur during patient treatment. Such a procedure can significantly reduce an undesired outcome.
Nurses’ responsibility does not only imply controlling and preventing the infection transmission, but also responding to infections based on nurse-patient cooperation. According to the research studies by Cimiotti et al. (2012) report that there is a significant connection between urinary tract infection and patient-to-nurse ratio. Additionally, the scholars have stressed that nurse burnout has a direct impact on urinary tract infections and surgical site infection. Hospitals that face a 30 % reduction in nurse burnout experience a tangible decline in infections rates. In this respect, the main responsibility of nursing is confined to keeping control of burnout rates to monitor infections in the divisions accounting for acute treatment, which is among the leading strategies in handling the issue.
Currently, the main roles of nurses relate to the organization of surveillance procedures, evidence-based practices aimed at controlling infection, and responsible prescription of antibiotics. Nurses should be fully aware of the threats that hospital environment can pose to their patients and, therefore, they hold responsibilities for patients’ safety and protection during the treatment sessions. To begin with, nurses should undertake the data collection process to define the scale of the problem. Although the scheme of information gathering is voluntary, surveillance should be presented as a prior activity that each nurse should perform. Determining accurate infection rates is important because they serve as the basis for establishing further course of action.
Evidence-based infection control procedures have been developed as strategies for increasing nurses’ awareness of the current situation with healthcare-induced infections. According to Wiseman (2006), national evidence-based practice must be incorporated into four distinguished areas: “hospital environment hygiene; hand hygiene; use of personal protective equipment; and use and disposal of sharps” (p. 42). All these issues should be strictly control both by the healthcare workers and by nurses. There should also be a group of nurses being in charge of infection reduction in the employed environment. Infection control initiatives should also be introduced along with ethical and moral codes of an organization.
Responsible application of antibiotics is another important role that nurses should play in controlling and managing the infection in the healthcare environment. Patients’ susceptibility to infectious diseases is explained by many aspects, such as immune system level, age, or the type of interventions that an individual can undertake. In this respect, the role of nurses is to take all these factors into the deepest consideration. Prescription of antibiotics should also be carried out by means of certain rules and procedures. For instance, it is highly necessary to ensure strict observance of distribution of antibiotics among patients with regard to the generally accepted rules.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that nurses’ role in prevention of healthcare-associated infections consists in controlling the prescription of antibiotics, developing specialized standards for keeping the hygiene in hospital, participating in evidence-based practice, and ensuring the overall safety of patients. The clinical staff should constantly increase its awareness of the degree of the problem and conduct deeper studies in this field to define the factors affecting the transmission of microorganisms from one patient to another. Hence, nurses should consider such patients’ characteristics as the immune system, age, gender, and the type of procedures they undergo in a hospital.
Cimiotti, J. P., Aiken, L. H., Sloane, D. M., & Wu, E. S. (2012). Nurse Staffing, Burnout, and Health Care-Associated Infection. American Journal of Infection Control, 40(6), 486-490.
Wiseman, S. (2006). Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infection. Nursing Standard, 20(38), 41-45.