Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Warning-Soap Box Post

Went to the doctor today for my first post-op appointment. The cast came off. Now, I have to wear a walking cast for at least until I see him again (April 11). I also have to start physical therapy 2/week for the next month. Taking the first step was a little rough, but each step is a little easier.

Sometimes being a nurse is a terrible thing, as I see things and know that they are not being done according to standard of practice. The office aide (dare I say nurse) cut off my cast then the doctor asked her to remove my stitches. Well, being a nurse and knowing the importance of hand washing, I expected her to wash her hands before removing the stitches. Did she? No! I understand that in today's health care industry, actual hand washing with soap and water is gone by the wayside, and alcohol based hand cleansers are all the rage. Even though the CDC and JACHO (JACHO is the accreditation agency) all recommend only using alcohol based hand cleansers when washing with water is not possible. Well, there was a wash basin with soap and paper towels in the room where my cast was removed. I was really perturbed by the fact that she dared to touch my wound without clean hands. Yes, she had on gloves, but that is no excuse. I almost told her to wash her hands, and I should have. I did however tell the doctor about it, and he told me that she should have and that he would have a talk to her. Hand washing is the exact reason why these super bugs (multiple antibiotic resistant bacteria) are becoming the norm. A simple thing such as hand washing can do so much. The best thing about it that is just plain old soap is enough. You don't need antibacterial soap for it to be effective, just proper technique. The following is put out by the CDC to explain how to properly wash your hands and when you should wash your hands.

When to Wash

• Before eating.
• Before, during, and after handling or preparing food.
• After contact with blood or body fluids (like vomit, nasal secretions, or saliva). • After changing a diaper.
• After you use the bathroom.
• After handling animals, their toys, leashes, or waste.
• After touching something that could be contaminated (such as a trash can, cleaning cloth, drain, or soil).
• Before dressing a wound, giving medicine or inserting contact lenses.
• More often when someone in your home is sick.
• Whenever they look dirty.
How to Wash
• Wet your hands and apply liquid, bar, or powder soap.
• Rub hands together vigorously to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
• Continue for 20 seconds! It takes that long for the soap and scrubbing action to dislodge and remove stubborn germs. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” all the way through – twice!
• Rinse hands well under running water.
• Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
• If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
(I always add one more point-After using the paper towel to turn off the faucet, then use it to open the door)
Remember: If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based wipe or hand gel!

If everyone followed these few simple rules, there would be a lot less illness. After all, have you ever watched the number of people who use the bathroom who do not wash their hands. They will go to the bathroom, go to the mirror, look in the mirror, play with their hair, then leave. They touch the door handle when they leave, and if you are at a buffet.....they then go and touch the serving spoons. Think about it. Next time you go out to eat, and have to use the restroom, watch through the door, you'll see what I mean. YUCK!!! That is why I always add using the paper towel to open the door.

Okay, off my soap box. I'll go back and just put my foot up and rest now.


  1. so true! I also heard that if people just washed their hands we could eliminate the flu virus.

  2. I know it's true, but I think most people just won't wash their hands anywhere near that often.