Infection Control Tips for Nurses

A Details Discussion on Infection Control Tips for Nurses

Pathogen control in nursing may have a major impact for both your patients and yourself – nurses aren’t immune to every infection that lurks on the job. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5% of all patients admitted to a hospital for whatever reason may pick up an infection while there. As part of their licensing programs, nurses learn about infection prevention and control measures.

Never let your hectic schedule or fatigue get in the way of properly washing your hands, cleaning tools and equipment, or collaborating with the rest of the team to guarantee a sanitized and safe atmosphere. There are specialized companies which are dedicated infection preventionists and who can assess and evaluate your workplace and then review and revise specific policies to assist in efficient infection control.

Infection control tips for nurses
Fig: Infection control tips for nurses

The Basics

Nurses are among the first line of defense against illness; thus, they must be meticulous about washing their hands and using hand sanitizers (if soap and water are not available) on a regular basis. Proper handwashing is one of the most effective methods to keep yourself, your family, and others safe. Nurses should follow a six-step procedure: 1) wet the hands 2) lather with soap on the backs of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails 3) rub the hands for at least twenty seconds 4) rinse well with running water 5) dry hands on a clean towel 6) use dry paper towel to switch off the tap and touch the handle of the door. Hand cleanliness is the most effective way to avoid catching and spreading infectious germs. Most centers advise gloves to be used only when needed (when in contact with bodily fluids) and that they are removed as soon as possible once the task is completed.


For infection prevention recommendations and expectations, nurses should consult their local institutions’ policies. Asepsis and aseptic techniques prevent or minimize micro-organisms from entering vulnerable body sites. This is a particular set of actions that are performed under controlled conditions. The insertion and ongoing maintenance of indwelling devices are vital. These include urinary or central venous catheters and IV cannula.

Fatigue, low staffing levels, lack of training and poor availability of equipment can lead to nurses forgetting to follow procedures efficiently. This includes the disposal of sharps which is a vital element in infection control. Inadequate decontamination of equipment is linked to infection outbreaks in healthcare settings. A dirty clinical environment also contributes to healthcare-associated infections. High standards of cleanliness help to reduce the risks of cross-infection. The correct sequence on putting on and taking off your personal protective equipment is also very important in preventing contamination.

Effective communication, teamwork and the reporting of any concerns can also assist in the efficient control of infections within the work environment.

At Home

It is equally important for nurses to be vigilant at home. They must remain at home when ill to keep infections out of the healthcare environment. It is a good idea for nurses to have more than one pair of work shoes on rotation and to leave these in the car when arriving home. If they need to be washed, make sure to effectively clean your hands before and after touching them. Also, for non-work-related activities, you should have a separate pair of shoes. Before interacting with your family, take off your work clothes and have a shower. Wash and sanitize those clothes as soon as possible.

Infection control goes both ways and nurses need to be diligent with the basics and practice safety precautions for themselves and their patients.

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