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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Roy

Let's Talk About ... Baby, Let's Talk About ...

Now that I have your attention, for those of you that know the song released in the 1990's Let's Talk About... by Salt-N-Pepa, let's for a moment while the tune is fresh in your mind, and yeah you can hum it but change the lyrics to, "Let's talk about GLOVES BABY, LETS TALK ABOUT HAND HYGIENE, LETS TALK ABOUT ALL THE GOOD THINGS AND THE BAD THINGS ABOUT PPE, LETS TALK ABOUT THIS." You will most likely have this in your head the rest of the day as it has been in mine even when my wife and I were out today with our pup for a walk. I kept just humming this tune in my head and thinking about how I would compose this post. Calling all individuals from healthcare and non healthcare basically asking for anyone that has to use gloves at your workplace to help me out and give your thoughts and weigh in on this topic about handwashing and use of gloves. Those of us in the healthcare industry know all about PPE ( Personal Protective Equipment ) not one of us out there at perfect at the Donning and Doffing of this equipment, but those of us that do use it have it almost have it down to a science and fully understand the importance of it and how damn hot that shit is when you are in a room with it on for any particular time. Those gowns are damn hot. Part of PPE and the topic of my thoughts today are the usage of gloves, and likewise they are not fun to wear either but I'm sure many of us feel safer with them on. Understand the gloves doesn't mean no hand washing, you still have to wash hands before putting them on and also after taking them off. Now I can only speak for myself, and by no means do I consider myself an expert in hand hygiene or infection control. But I do consider myself to be mindful and have common sense, I feel all healthcare workers do their best with handwashing but do at times still need to be reminded of proper handwashing and that goes for even myself. I guess that's why we have to do those darn Handwashing Audits. Which if I'm honest I have over the year's done okay on, but there were also times when it was told to me that improvement was needed. We are all human and I consider us all to be Perfectly Imperfect. There is always an opportunity for any of us to always learn and grow as individuals. That is why I am asking for help and perhaps understanding in this thought of mine, and its because recently I may have heard that gloves were being over used in lets say healthcare for example. You can understand that its absolutely shocking when one may be informed that gloves are being used to often and improperly, I understand that gloves cost money but I would think that any company would be happy that staff are using gloves and being safe. I have read many articles recently and am still after all these years in healthcare confused when to wear gloves and when not. Since I am the owner of this blog and site I am always just giving my own personal thoughts and experiences. So I will be honest as an LPN, when I am administering lets use as any example, eye gtts and or nasal sprays, do catheter flushes and or changes, administer meds through feeding tubes, and dressing changes, I always have gloves on. Now don't judge and or just assume I didn't wash my hands, cause I did. But I still wear gloves during those times and lots of other times, but I just named a few. It was recently brought to my attention that if I am using gloves for some of the things I mentioned that I am actually over using gloves and that some of those examples that I gave, it has been brought to my attention again that gloves are not needed and proper handwashing is all that is needed. Now for most of my nursing career, actually all of it, hand hygiene is preached constantly and the importance of it, as well as proper use of gloves, and never have I ever been told to not wear gloves, infact one time ( no not at band camp lol) I did administer eye gtts without gloves on and my manager told me that proper administration of eye gtts, ( for those of you wondering what gtts is, it's drops lol) included hand washing and then applying gloves before and during the administration. So this practice has been drilled into my head and now I have no idea any more what it best practice and safe practice or whatever you want to call it. So help me out folks and gosh help me find the right answer, or should I say, the BEST answer so I know what I am doing. I keep thinking of a time when I went to a certain sub place and when the sub artist, or perhaps they are called Sandwich Artist made my sub, they washed their hands and then put gloves on. I was happy that they did both. I mean this was an extremely long time ago so I dont even know if that is still a practice for them. But regardless, it is a practice of mine as a nurse LPN, to do my best with proper handwashing and to wear gloves in a situation that is needed. My problem is that I am unclear now when and where to use gloves or not. Also to be more honest, even with handwashing, there are just some situations that I feel more secure with gloves on my hands. But now since it has been to my attention that some of us are over using gloves, I really just need facts and perhaps anyone out there in nursing school and or infection control can weigh in here and give some honest and helpful feed back. It is hard to break old habits, but, if let's say an organization has policies around usage of gloves, I need to know that their policy is not just protecting their costs and that it is within current guidelines and best practices for safety and infection control. I have never thought of anyone being too cautious when choosing to wear gloves, nor have I ever thought that is was a cost for a business when providing them. I mean I know that there is a cost, but I guess I was never told I, or anyone else should be mindful of where and or when they are using gloves due to the cost. Gloves are part of PPE and gosh in healthcare even with proper handwashing and all the use of hand sanitizer I still think gloves need to be worn in certain situations, and no one should be told they are over using gloves. Also, one should never just assume that employees are not washing their hands responsibly. Yes, some of us are better than others, and this is an area we all need to improve in, but there are also some perhaps new folks to this industry and also any other industry where certain folks need more education in proper hand hygiene and also information about gloves. For me though Its just really about making sure that I am safe, my coworkers are safe, and those we care for. Its about making sure that we have the correct information so we can be safe, and not to feel that is we feel safer wearing gloves that we aren't going to be told someday that we are costing someone too much money. Surely, our safely is of higher concern than money. And by the way, money is so dirty , please folks make sure you are washing your hands after handling that shit. Oh and hey, if you work in healthcare you know that shit is also nasty, so please make sure your wash your hands before you apply for gloves, and wash them again after removal. Thanks for reading folks. Remember that your interaction with this blog is valuable, and encouraged. Never mention a business and or organization, keep responses respectful as well. This is my personal blog and my personal thoughts. You do not have to agree with anything, but hey if you do please feel free to spread this around. Hopefully it gets to the right set of eyes. I want everyone in healthcare to be safe, and to make sure that we always have the best practices and information. We have to look out for each other, not judge or be judged. This isn't just for myself, it is also about looking out for my co workers, and also those we care for. It's about being a voice and sometimes someone has to ask the difficult questions, and challenge policies. I believe that this can be done respectfully, and not to cause a divide. But when I am told that perhaps myself and or co workers are told when and where to use or not use gloves. Rest assured folks I want the latest , best practices info and infection control info so that all my co workers, not just nursing, this includes dietary, environmental etc. are safe. Healthcare is a team. All of us and all of our safety is more important that a dollar. But gosh, someone please tell me if I am supposed to wear gloves in the administration of eye gtts! What the heck it the current procedure for that lol

Thanks for reading folks, keep boosting and sharing my posts if you like what you read. Keep looking out for each other and stay safe. lol WASH YOUR HANDS

Rhonda Roy

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