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Discuss Your Role As A Nurse In Preventing Hospital Acquired Infection While On Clinical Placement

2546 words - 10 pages

The aim of this essay is to ascertain what hospital acquired infection entails, the detrimental effects it causes and to highlight the active role nurses can take in the prevention of this type of infection.Hospital acquired (or nosocomial) infection is: 'one that originated in the hospital environment; i.e. was not present or incubating on admission and which appeared 48h or more after admission' (Azzam et al. 2001). Infection is caused by pathogenic organisms which invade the hosts immunological defence mechanism; this can be through wounds left by invasive procedures whereby the host's natural body defences have been bypassed.It is the nurses' responsibility to know the factors that can increase patients' susceptibility to infection (i.e. age, underlying disease, drug therapy, or if they are undergoing surgery), this enables nurses to be able to assess which patients are most at risk so that they can develop a care plan and therefore they will know what extra, if any, precautions to take and protocols to follow. Sproat and Inglis (1992) cited by Mallett et al. (2000, p, 40) suggest that the assessment of a patient's risk of infection to others, in nursing care plans, before the commencement of any procedure is a fundamental principle of infection control. The Bowell-Webster risk assessment guide for identifying patients at risk of infection (1990) cited in Alexander et al. (2000, p, 595) can be used to decide which protocols to follow.Steed (1999) states that not all nosocomial infections relate directly to the patients' underlying disease but that many are caused by the actions of healthcare workers. Therefore great care must be taken by healthcare workers, especially nurses, who are directly involved in the care of patients. In this essay I am going to discuss the procedures followed by nurses to eradicate, if at all possible, cross infection.There are two ways of acquiring an infection in hospital: Cross (or exogenous) infection is when the infection has been spread from other people, either patients, visitors, hospital staff or even food and the surrounding environment; whereas self (or endogenous) infection is when the infection is caused by microbes carried by the patient on their body, usually from septic areas.Compliance with universal precautions should be rigorous as to avoid spread of infection. For example, failure to change gloves between interactions with different patients can lead to the spread of disease (Piro et al. 2001). Ayliffe et al. (1992) contended that the regularity of infection in hospitals, caused by multiple types of bacteria, could increase to epidemic amounts if aseptic and hygienic measures in the hospital collapsed.According to the Healthcare-associated Infection surveillance Centre (2000) approximately 30% of nosocomial infections are due to urinary tract infections, another 30% are due to bloodstream infections, 20% due to surgical site infections and 20% due to pneumonia. These infections tend to occur...

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