The responsibility of preventing hospital acquired infections does not solely rest upon the feet of the nursing staff. The effort must be a team effort that includes all of the personnel at a facility.
During clinical rotations at Bartow Regional Hospital, Galen students noted on multiple occasions while rotating through the Emergency Department that the rooms were not cleaned by Environmental Services, but the nurses and/or technicians that work in the ER. The staff wiped down the beds and changed the sheets, so the rooms would be ready for the next round of patients who cycled through. Some of the Galen nursing students noted that when the cleaning staff would clean isolation rooms after the patient had been discharged that they would just wear gloves to clean the room, without a gown or other protective personal equipment. The students also observed staff taking medical equipment into the isolation rooms to take vital signs or blood glucose readings and the equipment as not being cleaned before being taken into the next patient’s room.
There is often a lot of emphasis placed on blood borne pathogens by the hospital and the staff in charge of employee education, but perhaps more needs to be said regarding surface and equipment contamination, cross contamination, and how to effectively remove contaminates from the hospital environment. Some of the most common pathogens found on hospital surfaces like MRSA, VRE, norovirus, and C. diff have certain properties that enable them to contaminate hospital surfaces and equipment. These include the ability to survive on a surface for long periods of time, ability to be transmitted by colonized hands, a low inoculated dose of the pathogen, and resistance to certain disinfectants and cleansing agents (Weber, Rutala, Miller, Hulage, & Bennet, 2010).
To best understand the importance of preventing cross contamination from surfaces and equipment an employee must have a foundation of knowledge regarding how long contaminates can survive on a surface. Research has shown that some strains of bacteria can survive on a dry surface for months at a time without proper decontamination. The table below relates examples of contaminates that can be found on hospital surfaces and the estimated duration of their persistence.
Type of bacteria, virus, or fungi Duration
Clostridium difficile spores (bacteria)
Up to 5 months
Streptococcus pneumoniae (bacteria)
1 day-20 days
Streptococcus pyogenes (bacteria)
3 days-6 months
Staphylococcus aureus (bacteria, including MRSA) 7 days-7 months
Candida albicans (fungus)
1 day-120 days
3 days-5 months
8 hours-7 days
1 day-2 days
6 days-60 days
(Kramer, Schwebke, & Kampf, 2006)
One of the most common routes of transmission is by indirect contact. What this means is that an infected or contaminated patient touches an object or a surface that will subsequently come into contact with...